Little is known about adolescent bullying behavior and its relationship to substance use in ethnic minority populations. In a sample of youth of Mexican heritage, the current study aimed to examine the prevalence of bullying behavior subtypes and its co-occurrence with recent alcohol, cigarette, and inhalant use. Data come from a school-based substance use prevention study in the Southwestern U.S. (n = 809). We explored the prevalence of bullying behavior by status among youth classified as bullies, victims, bully-victims, and rarely-involved bully-victims in an urban context. We also investigated risk of past 30-day use of alcohol, cigarettes, and inhalants by bullying behavior status. Compared to non-involved youth, rarely-involved bully-victims were more likely to use alcohol, bullies were more likely to engage in alcohol and cigarette use, and bully-victims were more likely to use alcohol, cigarettes, and inhalants. In contrast, victims were not significantly at risk of substance use compared to non-involved youth. Chronic bullies and bully-victims are particularly at risk for substance use, with chronic bully-victims reflecting the greatest risk of using multiple substances. Prevention and early intervention programs aimed to reduce bullying can also work to decrease other risky behaviors, such as substance use, and should attend to the growing ethnic diversity among youth.
- Substance use
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science