THURSDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Student bullies, their victims and bully-victims -- those who are victimized and also engage in bullying -- face a broad range of health risks, including family violence and intentional self-harm, a new U.S. study finds.
In a survey of 5,807 middle-school and high-school students from almost 138 Massachusetts public schools, researchers found that those involved in bullying in any way are more likely to contemplate suicide and engage in self-harm, compared to other students.
Those involved in bullying were also more likely to have certain risk factors, including suffering abuse from a family member or witnessing violence at home, compared to people who were neither bullies nor victims.
Bullying was defined as being repeatedly teased, hit, threatened, kicked or excluded by other students.
After adjusting for other factors, the odds ratio of a middle school student being physically hurt by a family member, for example, was 2.9 for victims of bullying, 4.4 for bullies, and 5.0 for those who were both bullies and victims, compared to other students. The odds ratio for witnessing violence at home was, respectively, 2.6, 2.9, and 3.9.
The odds ratio for a high school student to be physically hurt by a family member was 2.8 for victims, 3.8 for bullies, and 5.4 for bully-victims, compared to students who were not involved in bullying; for witnessing violence at home, the odds ratio for high school students was 2.3, 2.7 and 6.8, respectively.
Previous research has linked bullying with poor grades, substance use and mental health issues. This report concludes that the health risks and home environment for teens involved in bullying are much worse than for kids who have no experience with bullying.
"The results underscore the importance of primary prevention programs, as well as comprehensive programs and strategies that involve families," researchers from the U.S.
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