Nav: Home

Being bullied does not lead to higher substance abuse

March 09, 2016

Being bullied can hurt young children in many ways, but a new UT Dallas study found that it does not lead to later substance abuse.

The research by three criminologists in UT Dallas' School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS) discovered that students who were bullied in third grade did not have a greater risk of using drugs or alcohol by ninth grade.

But the researchers found that children who had experienced the highest level of victimization smoked cigarettes or used alcohol at higher rates than high school peers. The study noted that experimentation with drugs and alcohol is common among adolescents regardless of whether they had been bullied.

"The findings speak to the necessity of continuing to encourage meaningful substance use prevention programs during adolescence and making sure students have the resilience skills necessary to stay away from substances," said Dr. Nadine Connell, assistant professor of criminologyand lead author of the study. "Early in-school victimization may, however, have other consequences that should be explored."

The study, published in the journal Victims & Offenders, used longitudinal data from 763 students in a Northeastern U.S. school district.

Connell worked with co-authors Dr. Robert Morris, associate professor of criminology and director of theCenter for Crime and Justice Studies in EPPS, and Dr. Alex Piquero, Ashbel Smith Professor of Criminology and associate dean for graduate programs in EPPS.

The three researchers published another recent study that found that relatively minor events in a child's life can help predict bullying behavior. The events included a new sibling, an ill sibling, failing grades, feeling unpopular with peers and being bullied at a young age.

That study, published in the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, also used data from the Northeastern U.S. school district.

"This speaks to the importance early life events can have on adolescent experiences and the need for early intervention when problems first arise," Connell said.

Research on bullying has focused on the consequences of victimization. The new research advances the understanding of the bullies themselves, Connell said.

"As we learn more about the consequences of bullying, we need to do more work to identify perpetrators and find ways to combat the behavior earlier," she said.

The findings suggest that early life events may disrupt the developmental process, she said.

"This opens up new ways to explore the developmental trajectory of bullying behavior and gives us potential target points for early intervention," Connell said.

The research is the latest from UT Dallas criminologists that focuses on bullying. A 2013 study by Connell and Piquero, with co-author Dr. Nicole Leeper Piquero, criminology professor and associate provost, found that adults who were bullies in adolescence had a higher likelihood of engaging in criminal behavior later in life.

"Bullying victimization is an adverse experience that has negative ramifications over the life course," Dr. Alex Piquero said. "We need to understand what kinds of factors increase the likelihood of being the victim of a bully, so that we can identify and target those risk factors with evidence-based prevention efforts.

"As well, knowledge on the correlates of bullying perpetration will help teachers, parents and social-service providers identify the risk factors that increase the likelihood that youths may bully others. Targeting such efforts could help reduce the incidence of bullying and its negative consequences."
-end-


University of Texas at Dallas

Related Bullying Articles:

Bullying gets worse as children with autism get older
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are more likely to experience bullying than children without ASD and this bullying gets worse with age, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
Does obesity increase risk of being a bullying victim, perpetrator, or both?
A new study has shown that obese adolescents are not only significantly more likely to experience bullying, but they are also more likely to be both victims and perpetrators of bullying compared to their healthy weight peers.
Study examines consequences of workplace bullying
New research reveals how frequently being the target of workplace bullying not only leads to health-related problems but can also cause victims to behave badly themselves.
Bullying linked to student's pain medication use
In a school-based survey study of all students in grades 6, 8, and 10 in Iceland, the use of pain medications was significantly higher among bullied students even when controlling for the amount of pain they felt, as well as age, gender, and socioeconomic status.
Teen girls more vulnerable to bullying than boys
Girls are more often bullied than boys and are more likely to consider, plan, or attempt suicide, according to research led by a Rutgers University-Camden nursing scholar.
Bullying among adolescents hurts both the victims and the perpetrators
About a tenth of adolescents across the globe have been the victim of psychological or physical violence from their classmates.
Bullying evolves with age and proves difficult to escape from
An international team from the Universities of Cordoba, Cambridge and Zurich conducted a study on bullying roles among peers.
The more the merrier? Children with multiple siblings more susceptible to bullying
A child with more than one brother or sister is more likely to be the victim of sibling bullying than those with only one sibling, and firstborn children and older brothers tend to be the perpetrators, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
How bullying affects the brain
The effects of constantly being bullied are more than just psychological.
Bias-based bullying does more harm, is harder to protect against
A new study finds that bias-based bullying does more harm to students than generalized bullying, particularly for students who are targeted because of multiple identities, such as race and gender.
More Bullying News and Bullying Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.