Objective: To examine the relationships between peer victimization, mental health, and parental involvement among middle school students in the Caribbean.
Methods: Data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS) conducted in the Cayman Islands, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago in 2007 were analysed using age- and gender-adjusted logistic regression models.
Results: About one-quarter of the 6780 participants reported having been bullied in the past month. Rates of bullying were similar for boys and girls, and younger children reported higher rates of peer victimization. Nearly 25% of students reported sadness and hopelessness, more than 10% reported loneliness and anxiety and more than 15% reported having seriously considered suicide in the past year. Bullied students were much more likely than non-bullied students to report mental health issues (p < 0.01). Students who felt that their parents were understanding and monitored their free time activities reported fewer mental health issues and were somewhat less likely to report being a victim of a bully.
Conclusion: The strong association between bullying and poor mental health in the Caribbean emphasizes the need to develop and implement strategies for reducing bullying among children and adolescents.