According to a new study of nearly half a million students published in PLOS Medicine by Xiayun Zuo of Fudan University, China, and colleagues, students who have repeated a grade are at higher risk of being bullied in countries from all over the world .
Overall, 12.25% of the included students had repeated a grade and 30.32% of the students reported experiencing bullying at least a few times a month during the previous year. Students who had repeated a grade were more likely to have been bullied compared to their peers.
And girls are even more at risk
In the new study, the researchers used data from the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PIA), which included information on 465,146 15- and 16-year-old students from 74 countries / economies. The association was observed in students from 46 different countries / economies and in students of both genders. However, compared to boys, girls who repeated a grade had a higher risk of being teased, threatened, their belongings taken away and pushed .
The authors note that, while the findings support a relationship between experiences of repeating a grade and bullying victimization, the cross-sectional study cannot determine whether such a relationship is causal or the direction of the relationship .
The study was also limited to adolescents who were attending school at the time the survey was administered, and measures of experiences of bullying and grade repetition were self-reported.