Children who bully their classmates are more vulnerable to smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or using drugs such as marijuana, US researchers say. A study of more than 74,000 middle and high school students also showed that kids who were both bullies and bully-victims had a greater risk of using drugs, alcohol and cigarette. “Our findings suggest that one deviant behavior may be related to another,” said senior researcher Kisha Radliff of 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.”
According to the results, bullying was more common in middle schools while substance use was more prevalent among high school students.
Reportedly, about 30 percent of middle school students were bullies, victims or bully-victims, compared to 23 percent of high school kids.
Among high school students, 13.3 percent of those not involved in bullying were pot 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.
The use of cigarettes and alcohol was statistically greater for victims in high school, but there was no statistically significant effect on marijuana use.