Research for the DfE suggests that having been bullied as a 14 or 15 year old makes it much more likely to have problems with substances, engage in behaviours more likely to lead to trouble with the police, and evidencing emotional health concerns.

This has been reinforced by this briefing from the Crime Victims’ Institute at Sam Houston State University in the USA.  Looking at similar longitudinal data they report:

Victims of bullying reported drinking an average of 3.16 drinks per day compared to 2.59 drinks per day among those who had not experienced bullying.  Also, a greater percentage of victims had engaged in binge‐drinking (32.8%)  compared to non‐victims (28.6%).

I mentioned in an earlier post one in three (29%) 10-15 year olds have been bullied in the past year which suggests one of the reasons we continue to have relatively high levels of substance misuse in the UK.

Update: Almost as soon as I pressed publish on this post I find another piece of research that sheds an interesting new light on the same issue.  The research from University of Cincinnati looked at the links between bullying, recent alcohol use and heavy drinking episodes among more than 54,000 7th-through-12th grade students in the area.

They say that bullies and their victims report similar types of activity in relation to their drinking patterns and speculate that this may be about self-medication.  They also found that bullies and victims were less likely to be engaged in pro-social activities.

More here.


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