Are theory of mind and bullying separately associated with later academic performance among preadolescents?

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DOI

  • Lars Clemmensen, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre, Mental Health Services Capital Region, Research Unit, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; Centre for Neuropsychiatric Schizophrenia Research and Centre for Clinical Intervention and Neuropsychiatric Schizophrenia Research, Copenhagen University Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital Centre Glostrup, Glostrup, Denmark; The Lundbeck Foundation Initiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research (iPSYCH), Aarhus, Denmark., Center for Telepsychiatry, Mental Health Services, Region of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
  • ,
  • Jens Richardt Møllegaard Jepsen, Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Mental Health Services in the Capital Region of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Lundbeck Foundation Center for Clinical Intervention and Neuropsychiatric Schizophrenia REsearch and Center for Neuropsychiatric Schizophrenia Research, Psychiatric Center Glostrup, Glostrup, Mental Health Center Copenhagen, Mental Health Services in the Capital Region of Denmark
  • ,
  • Jim van Os, Department of Psychosis Studies, King's College London, King's Health Partners, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK., Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, Department of Psychiatry, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
  • ,
  • Els M A Blijd-Hoogewys, INTER-PSY, Groningen, The Netherlands., Netherlands
  • Martin K Rimvall, The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; Faculty of Health Science, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark; Institute of Biomedical Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark., Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre, Mental Health Services Capital Region, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • ,
  • Else Marie Olsen, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; Research Centre for Prevention and Health, The Capital Region of Denmark, Glostrup, Denmark; Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, The Capital Region of Denmark, Hellerup, Denmark., Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Charlotte U Rask
  • Agna A Bartels-Velthuis, University Medical Center Groningen, University Center for Psychiatry, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
  • ,
  • Anne Mette Skovgaard, National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark., Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Pia Jeppesen, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre, Mental Health Services Capital Region, Copenhagen, Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

BACKGROUND: Bullying and poor theory of mind (ToM) are both considered to negatively impact academic performance. However, it is unclear if they have separate effects.

AIM: The aim of the current study was to examine the potentially separate associations of bullying and ToM with academic performance.

SAMPLE: A general population sample of 1,170 children aged 11-12 years.

METHODS: Information on bullying, type of involvement (none, victim (only), bully (only), victim-bully (both)), ToM, and estimated intelligence was obtained at face-to-face assessments. Information on academic performance was obtained from Danish school registers.

RESULTS: ToM was positively associated with academic performance, and involvement in bullying was negatively associated with academic performance. Academic performance differed between types of involvement in bullying. Pairwise post hoc analyses showed that in the full sample, the only significant difference was between those not involved and those involved as victim (only). This was also the case for girls. Adjusting for potential shared variance with gender, estimated intelligence and ToM being victim (only) and victim-bully (both) were negatively associated with academic performance compared to no involvement. Thus, being a victim (or victim-bully) contributes negatively to academic performance beyond the effects of ToM and intelligence, and regardless of gender. Similarly, ToM remained positively associated with academic performance after adjusting for shared variance.

CONCLUSION: ToM and involvement in bullying were both separately associated with later academic performance. These results remained even after adjusting for shared variance, and for shared variance with gender and estimated IQ.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Volume90
Issue1
Pages (from-to)62-76
Number of pages15
ISSN0022-0663
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Theory-of-Mind, academic performance, adolescence, bullying, school

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