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Frontiers in Psychology

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This study aims to investigate bullying behaviors among college students at one of the national universities in UAE, and also to examine the psychological characteristics of those who were exposed to, or have experienced bullying. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 839 undergraduate students at one of the national universities in the UAE. Students from all colleges participated in this study and were selected by using stratified random sampling. Participants completed a bullying survey designed for the study, in addition to three psychological measures [i.e., Aggression Questionnaire, Buss and Perry, 1992; The Primary Care Anxiety and Depression, El-Rufaie et al., 1997; and the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fifth Edition (PCL-5), Weathers et al., 2013]. The prevalence rate of students being exposed to or engaged in bullying was 26.3% (221 out of 839). Of those, 72 students (8.7%) reported being bullied, 29 (3.6%) reported bullying others, and 185 (22.8%) reported witnessing friends being bullied. The most common types of bullying reported were traditional bullying (e.g., face-to-face bullying, verbal, and physical). Cyberbullying was not very common. More females reported being bullied in comparison to males and most of the aggressors were peer students. Overall, moderate level of aggressive personality traits and low levels of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD were reported for the total sample. T-tests revealed significant differences in the three psychological measures between those who did not experience bullying and those who did. The mean scores on the Aggression Questionnaire for those who bullied others were significantly higher than those who did not experience bullying. Experiences of bullying seem to impact college students’ mental health in the UAE. Therefore, efforts need to focus on developing preventive programs to increase students’ awareness of bullying and its negative impact on campus environment. Offering psychological help for those who were exposed to bullying would help them to deal effectively with this trauma.




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Medicine and Health Sciences | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Bullying behavior, Anxiety, Depression, Aggression, PTSD

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Open Access


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Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series