Childhood Bullying Victimization, Substance Use and Criminal Activity among Adolescents: A Multilevel Growth Model Study




Lee, Jungup
Choi, Mijin
Holland, Margaret
Radey, Melissa
Tripodi, Stephen

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute


Background: This study aims to examine the effects of childhood bullying victimization (CBV) on substance use and criminal activity among adolescents over time. In addition, it identifies the moderating effects of gender and race/ethnicity on the associations of CBV with substance abuse and criminal activity in adolescence and young adulthood. Methods: This study included 8984 adolescents aged 12 to 18 years (Mage = 14.22 years) assessed biennially at four time points utilizing the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. The two-level hierarchical linear modeling was employed to test the effects of CBV on substance use and criminal activity. Results: The incidence of substance use increased over time throughout adolescence to young adulthood, while that of criminal activity decreased. CBV increased the risks of cigarette use, marijuana use, and criminal activity. Gender and race/ethnicity significantly moderated the effect of CBV on alcohol use and alcohol binges. The effect of CBV on alcohol use was stronger among females than males. Among Hispanic adolescents, CBV was more strongly related to alcohol use and binges compared to non-Hispanic White. Conclusion: Findings suggest the need for early intervention for children at high risk of being bullied to reduce later substance abuse and involvement in criminal activities. Considering the moderating effects of gender and ethnicity on the associations, target-specified intervention and prevention programs are also required. Further studies focusing on the lifelong effects of CBV beyond adolescence are recommended.



childhood bullying victimization, substance use, criminal activity, adolescence, young adulthood, Social Work


Lee, J., Choi, M., Holland, M. M., Radey, M., & Tripodi, S. J. (2022). Childhood bullying victimization, substance use and criminal activity among adolescents: A multilevel growth model study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(01), 770.


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