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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2015 Sep 1;154:63-8. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.06.012. Epub 2015 Jun 19.

Concurrent and prospective associations between bullying victimization and substance use among Australian adolescents.

Author information

1
NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. Electronic address: e.kelly@unsw.edu.au.
2
NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
3
Department of Psychiatry, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Adolescence is a vulnerable time for both substance use and bullying involvement; however, there is limited research on substance use among adolescent victims of bullying. This study aimed to examine concurrent and prospective associations between bullying and substance use, differentiating between passive-victims, bully-victims and 'pure' bullies.

METHOD:

Associations between bullying involvement and substance use at baseline and 24 months post-baseline were examined in a cohort of adolescents in Australia. Bullying victims were divided into passive-victims (those who get bullied and do not bully others) and bully-victims (those who both get bullied and bully others). Perpetrators of bullying were divided into 'pure' bullies (those who bully others but do not get bullied), and bully-victims (as above). Outcomes examined were past six month use of alcohol (any drinking; risky drinking), tobacco, and cannabis.

RESULTS:

While there was no evidence of an association between bullying victimization and/or perpetration and substance use at baseline, there was evidence of an association between bullying and substance use 24 months post-baseline. Specifically, there was evidence of increased odds of risky drinking and cannabis use for the bully-victim group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Bully-victim status at age 13 was associated with substance use at age 15, controlling for concurrent bullying involvement at age 15. Bully-victims are a particularly high-risk group that could benefit from targeted substance use preventive interventions. Reducing bullying is of great importance in reducing substance use and other harms among adolescents.

KEYWORDS:

Adolescents; Bullies; Bully-victims; Bullying; Longitudinal; Peer victimization; Substance use; Victims

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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