School bullies more likely to be substance users, study finds
Middle- and high-school students who bully their classmates are more likely than others to use substances such as cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana, a new study found.
Researchers found that bullies and bully-victims youth who are both perpetrators and victims were more likely to use substances than were victims and non-involved youth.
"Our findings suggest that one deviant behavior may be related to another," said Kisha Radliff, lead author of the study and assistant professor of school psychology at Ohio State University.
"For example, youth who bully others might be more likely to also try substance use. The reverse could also be true in that youth who use substances might be more likely to bully others."
The researchers didn't find as strong a link between victims of bullying and substance use.
Radliff conducted the study with Joe Wheaton, associate professor in Special Education, and Kelly Robinson and Julie Morris, both former graduate students, all at Ohio State.
Their study appears in the April 2012 issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors.
Data for the study came from a survey of 74,247 students enrolled in all public, private and Catholic middle and high schools in Franklin County, Ohio (which includes Columbus).
Among the 152 questions on the survey were eight that involved bullying, either as a victim or perpetrator. Students were asked about how often they told lies or spread false rumors about others, pushed people around to make them afraid, or left someone out of a group to hurt them. They were also asked how often they were the victims of such actions.
In addition, the questionnaire asked how often they used cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. For this study, users were defined as those who reported use at least once a month.
About 30 percent of middle-school students were bullies, victims or bully-victims, compared to 23 percent of those in high school.
Fewer than 5 percent of middle-school youth used cigarettes, alcohol, or marijuana. But among high-school students, about 32 percent reported alcohol use, 14 percent used cigarettes and 16 percent used marijuana.
But substance use varied depending on involvement in bullying, the researchers found.
For example, among middle-school students, only 1.6 percent of those not involved in bullying reported marijuana use. But 11.4 percent of bullies and 6.1 percent of bully-victims used the drug. Findings showed that 2.4 percent of victims were marijuana users.
Among high school students, 13.3 percent of those not involved in bullying were marijuana users compared to 31.7 percent of bullies, 29.2 percent of bully-victims, and 16.6 percent of victims.
Similar results were found for alcohol and cigarette use.
But the percentages tell only part of the story, Radliff said. The researchers also used a statistical analysis that showed that bullies and bully-victims had much higher than expected levels of substance use.
"That suggests there is a relationship between experimenting with substances and engaging in bullying behavior," she said.
Statistically, however, there was no connection between being a victim and substance use among middle-school students, according to Radliff. The use of cigarettes and alcohol was statistically greater for victims in high school, but there was no statistically significant effect on marijuana use.
Nevertheless, it was the bullies and bully-victims who were the most likely to be substance users.
Radliff said these results may lead to ways anti-bullying initiatives can be improved.
"Many schools are mandating anti-bullying programs and policies, and we think they need to take this opportunity to address other forms of deviant behavior, such as substance use," she said.
This might be especially important in middle school, where bullying is more prevalent, but substance use is still relatively rare.
"If we can intervene with bullies while they're in middle school, we may be able to help them before they start experimenting with substance use," she said.
Provided by The Ohio State University
- University of Denver bullying victimization study Feb 22, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Research finds bullies and victims three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts by age 11 Feb 29, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Teens' take on bullying Nov 11, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Witnesses to bullying may face more mental health risks than bullies and victims Dec 14, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- School bullying affects majority of elementary students Apr 12, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
9 hours ago Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 1 hour ago | 4.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Nervous about that upcoming job interview? You might want to take steps to reduce your jitters, especially if you are a man.
Psychology & Psychiatry 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Research by U of T Mississauga psychology professor Glenn Schellenberg reveals that two key personality traits – openness-to-experience and conscientiousness—predict better than IQ ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 4 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Parents naturally are concerned for their children's safety, particularly when there is news of a child abduction that happens close to home. Finding the balance between emotions and the "teachable moment" as parents talk ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new report on suicide in Ireland shows that suicide cases experienced a significant number (and intensity) of life events in the 6 months prior to their death.
Psychology & Psychiatry 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Little is known about why asthma develops, how it constricts the airway or why response to treatments varies between patients. Now, a team of researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University Medical Center ...
17 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—The human brain is able to identify individuals' voices by comparing them against an internal 'average voice' prototype, according to neuroscientists.
8 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new study determined that children and adolescents with seizures involving the temporal lobe are likely to have clinically significant behavioral problems and psychiatric illness, especially depression. Findings published ...
19 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
As the human body fine-tunes its neurological wiring, nerve cells often must fix a faulty connection by amputating an axon—the "business end" of the neuron that sends electrical impulses to tissues or other ...
2 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Scientists have uncovered a survival mechanism that occurs in breast cells that have just turned premalignant-cells on the cusp between normalcy and cancers-which may lead to new methods of stopping tumors.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Gaucher disease causes debilitating and sometimes fatal neurodegeneration in early childhood. Recent studies have uncovered a link between the mutations responsible for Gaucher disease and an increased risk ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |