While some studies have examined the deleterious effects of childhood bullying on adults, no studies to date have focused on the effects of bullying on Persons Living with HIV (PLH), a particularly at-risk population. PLH experience higher rates of childhood and adulthood physical and sexual abuse than the population at large, and experience of childhood abuse appears to be predictive of sexual and other risk behaviors in this population. Thus it remains critical to examine rates of childhood bullying and correlates of bullying in adult PLH.A sample of 171 HIV-positive men over 18 years of age were recruited from the San Francisco Bay Area. All participants reported experiencing symptoms of traumatic stress. The participants were recruited as part of a larger study assessing a group intervention for individuals with HIV and symptoms of trauma. Self-report questionnaires were administered to assess participants' exposure to bullying in childhood and trauma symptoms in adulthood.Bullying was commonly reported by men in the current sample, with 91% of the sample endorsing having experienced some level of bullying before age 18. Having been bullied in childhood was significantly (p<.05) associated with methamphetamine use in adulthood, difficulties with mood, and with symptoms of trauma. Results of a hierarchical regression equation found that report of bullying in childhood predicted additional, unique variance in trauma symptoms in adulthood above and beyond the effect of exposure to other forms of trauma, resulting in a better-fitting model.The current study highlights the association between rate of childhood bullying and symptoms of trauma in adulthood, accounting for the effect of exposure to other forms of trauma. Given the impact of trauma symptoms on disease progression in PLH, exposure to bullying must be considered in any intervention aiming to reduce trauma symptoms or improve mental or physical health among HIV-positive populations.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.09.016
View details for Web of Science ID 000317548200008