Study shows bullying is linked to domestic violence, abuse
Although it has been popular of late to blame Christian biblical beliefs for bullying (especially of homosexuals), a new study confirms that violent and dysfunctional home life, alcohol and drug abuse are to blame.
A study by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC shows that people who bully, have been bullied or have experienced both are more likely to have experienced direct violence within their families, substance abuse, low grades, and mental health problems, according to the LA Times.
Although smaller studies had indicated links to some of these factors for some time, this is the first time that a major study has established all the above as factors associated with bullying, and added family violence to the list, the LA Times said.
The study was based on data from a 2009 Massachusetts Youth Health Survey, according to its website. It was published in the Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Participants answered questions regarding their health, grades, drug use, experience of violence at home and other questions. They were also asked if they had ever bullied someone, and if they had ever been bullied, the LA Times said.
Based on respondents answers, four categories were drawn, namely bullies (doers), victims (those who were maltreated), bully-victims (those who maltreated others and who were maltreated) and neither (those who did not have any experience with bullying), according to the website.
The study showed that 43.9 percent of students in middle school participants, and 30.5 percent from high school respondents had encounters related to bullying, thirdage.com said.
However, the category with the highest risk factors were the bully-victims, who were three times as likely to have suicidal thoughts, inflict harm on themselves, and to have experienced or witnessed abuse and violence at home, thirdage.com reported.
The survey indicated that risk factors were also significantly elevated for bullies and victims, compared to those who were in the “neither” category, according to LA Times.
The study showed that large percentages of respondents in the bullies and bully-victim categories stated that they had recently used alcohol and drugs, compared to victims and respondents in the “neither” category, the website said.
The 2009 Massachusetts Youth Health Survey was conducted from January to June, in 138 public middle schools and high schools. There were 2,859 middle school respondents, and 2,948 high school respondents, the website reported.
The report said that its finding “expands upon previous documentation of an association between childhood exposure to family violence and subsequent mental health problems (e.g., anxiety and depression) and involvement in general physical aggression, dating violence, and weapon-carrying,” the website said.
The study recommended a continuance of bullying prevention programs and strategies in school, particularly those that include family involvement, according to the website.