Adolescent bullying is a significant public health issue in the United States. The health consequences of bullying may vary, however, according to the social position and characteristics of victims and bullies within the bullying subculture. For example, research suggests that bully involved youth are more likely to engage in risky health behaviors, including social withdrawal, tobacco, and alcohol use. Yet, the extent to which health outcomes are shaped by involvements in bullying or the risk behaviors associated with bullying remains unclear. In this study we assess the extent to which risk behaviors mediate the links between health outcomes of bully-involved youth using data from the Health Behavior of School Aged Children 2005–2006 Study (N = 8066). School-level fixed-effects regression models assessed whether risk behaviors mediate relationships between bullying statuses and somatic and depressive symptoms. Results show that mediational risk behavior pathways vary across outcomes for youth situated differently in the bullying subculture, with substantially more mediation for bullies than victims. This study advances the current bullying and health research by accounting for risk behavior pathways linking bullying and health.
- Risk behaviors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science