UNLABELLED: There is a documented effect of peer victimization in school as an injury trigger, but the question of differences between children according to age and sex remains unexplored. Nor do we know the role played by school peer victimization as a direct injury mechanism.
OBJECTIVE: The study considered age and sex differences with regard to peer victimization's triggering effect on physical injury, its direct relation to injury (i.e. physical violence), and its age- and gender-specific frequency and manner of occurrence.
METHOD: Data were gathered through structured interviews with children aged 10-15 years, residing in Stockholm County in Sweden during two consecutive school years, and who had been hospitalized due to injury (n = 592).
RESULTS: Peer victimization operated on injury risk-both indirectly as a trigger of injurious events (most of which are unintentional), and directly as a causal mechanism in relation to intentional physical harm. Further, intentionally injured children frequently knew their offender(s)--often from school--and, in those instances, had been previously victimized by them. There is a quantitative and a qualitative difference in the manner in which occasional and frequent victims are victimized by their peers.
CONCLUSION: Peer victimization impacts on children's safety and is a common element in the school background of many children. Differences between occasional and frequent victims in forms and consequences of victimization are more remarkable than those based on sex and age of the child, with the exception of victimization as a direct cause of injury.
2003. Vol. 15, no 3, 267-79 p.