Objective: Psychotic experiences, such as hallucinations, occur commonly in children and have been related to bullying victimization. However, whether bullying perpetration, peer rejection, or peer acceptance are related to hallucinatory experiences has remained under-examined. We used a novel peer nomination method to examine whether (i) bullying perpetration and (ii) social positions within peer networks were associated with future hallucinatory experiences. Methods: This prospective study was embedded in the population-based Generation R Study. Bullying perpetration, peer rejection, and peer acceptance were assessed using peer nominations at age 7 years (N = 925). Using a social network analysis, we estimated social positions within peer rejection and acceptance networks. Bullying victimization was assessed using self-reports. Self-reported hallucinatory experiences were assessed at age 10 years. Analyses were adjusted for sociodemographic covariates. Results: Higher levels of bullying perpetration were prospectively associated with an increased burden of hallucinatory experiences (OR = 1.22, 95% CI 1.05–1.43, p = 0.011). Bullies had a 50% higher, and bully-victims had a 89% higher odds, of endorsing hallucinatory experiences three years later than children who were not involved in bullying (ORbully = 1.50, 95% CI 1.01–2.24, p = 0.045; ORbully-victim = 1.89, 95% CI 1.15–3.10, p = 0.012). Unfavorable positions within peer rejection networks, but not peer acceptance networks, were associated with an increased risk for hallucinatory experiences (ORpeer rejection = 1.24, 95% CI 1.07–1.44, pFDR-corrected = 0.024). Conclusion: Using peer reports, we observed that bullies and socially rejected children have a higher likelihood to report hallucinatory experiences in pre-adolescence. Children who are both a bully and a victim of bullying (ie, bully-victims) may be particularly vulnerable for psychotic experiences.

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doi.org/10.1111/acps.13282, hdl.handle.net/1765/134983
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica

Steenkamp, L.R. (Lisa R.), Tiemeier, H., Bolhuis, K., Hillegers, M., Kushner, S.A. (Steven A.), & Blanken, L. (2021). Peer-reported bullying, rejection and hallucinatory experiences in childhood. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. doi:10.1111/acps.13282