Beware of Bullies

Published Online: Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Bullying should be considered a serious indicator for more serious violent behavior and not a normal part of growing up, according to study results recently published in The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Researchers based their conclusions on data from 15,686 US schoolchildren in grades 6 through 10 in public and private schools who completed the World Health Organization?s Health Behavior in School-Aged Children survey in 1998. The survey asked the participants to report whether they carried weapons (such as a gun, knife, or club for self-defense), whether they had a history of fighting, and whether they were ever injured in a fight.

Nearly 30% of the children reported being involved in bullying either as the bully, the target, or both. The researchers discovered that involvement in any violence-related behaviors ranged between 13% and 23% for boys and between 4% and 11% for girls. In both groups, bullying and being bullied were related to violent behavior. Participants who described themselves as bullies, as opposed to those who were bullied, had a higher risk of engaging in violent behavior. An even greater risk was found associated with bullying off school grounds.

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