A new study presented by professor of health promotion Keith King and assistant professor of health promotion Rebecca Vidourek, both from the University of Cincinnati, showed that both school bullies and their targets are likely to abuse alcohol after an episode of bullying.
Their study was presented on October 29th at the 140th annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in San Francisco. The study included over 54,000 school students across the Greater Cincinnati area ranging from 7th grade to 12th grade. The data was collected by the Coalition for a Drug Free Greater Cincinnati, and was included in the 2009-2010 Pride Survey on adolescent drug use in the United States.
Results showed that more than 38 percent of students were involved in a type of school violent victimization, ranging from verbal intimidation to threatening with a weapon. These findings were associated with recent alcohol use among males and females in grades 7th through 12th. King and Vidourek also found that “males, non-whites and junior high school students were more likely to be victimized by bullying.”
King also noted that junior- and high school students were “one-and-a-half times more likely to have abused alcohol if they had been bullied.” King believes that alcohol use may be a way for victims to escape problems and self-medicate.
The researchers also found that bully victims were less likely to be involved in extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports, and community/church organizations.
King says, “The results of this study mirror our past studies in examining adolescent behavior, and how positive connections with schools, families and their communities can positively and significantly impact the social and emotional health of youth.”
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