Bullying victims not at higher risk of substance abuse

New York, March 10 (IANS) Being bullied can hurt young children in many ways but it does not lead to later substance abuse, says a new study.

The researchers discovered that students who were bullied in the third grade did not have a greater risk of using drugs or alcohol by the ninth grade.

But the researchers found that children who had experienced the highest level of victimisation smoked cigarettes or used alcohol at higher rates than high school peers.

The study noted that experimentation with drugs and alcohol is common among adolescents regardless of whether they had been bullied or not.

The study, published in the journal Victims & Offenders, used data from 763 students in a northeastern US school district.

“The findings speak to the necessity of continuing to encourage meaningful substance use prevention programmes during adolescence and making sure students have the resilience skills necessary to stay away from substances,” said lead author of the study Nadine Connell, assistant professor of criminology at the University of Texas at Dallas in the US.

“Early in-school victimisation may, however, have other consequences that should be explored,” Connell noted.

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