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Addict Behav. 2012 Apr;37(4):569-72. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.01.001. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

Illuminating the relationship between bullying and substance use among middle and high school youth.

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The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1224, United States.


The increased prevalence and negative impact of bullying and substance use among youth has been established independently in the literature; however, few researchers have examined the association between involvement in bullying and substance use across middle and high school youth. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine the self-reported prevalence of bullying and substance use (alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana) among youth in middle and high school. Middle and high school students from 16 school districts across a large metropolitan area (N=78,333) completed a school-based survey. Scales were created to examine involvement in bullying, victimization, and substance use. A link between involvement in bullying and substance use was evident. Youth involved in bullying were more likely than students not involved in bullying to use substances, with bully-victims reporting the greatest levels of substance use. Differences at the school level and across status (i.e., bullies, victims, and bully-victims) are discussed. Implications for practice and prevention and intervention programs are offered. Findings support the need for continued research into risky behaviors, such as substance use, that are correlated with bullying behavior and may contribute to an increase in negative outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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