Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 220–234 | Cite as

Bullies, Gangs, Drugs, and School: Understanding the Overlap and the Role of Ethnicity and Urbanicity

  • Catherine P. Bradshaw
  • Tracy Evian Waasdorp
  • Asha Goldweber
  • Sarah Lindstrom Johnson
Empirical Research

Abstract

Recent media attention has increased interest in behavioral, mental health, and academic correlates of involvement in bullying. Yet, there has not been much interest in investigating the co-occurrence of other health-risk behaviors, such as gang membership, weapon carrying, and substance use. The potential influence of contextual factors, such as youth ethnicity, urbanicity, and school characteristics, also has been overlooked in previous research. The current study examined different subtypes of involvement in bullying—as primarily a victim, as primarily a bully, as both a victim and bully, and no involvement—and the association with significant health-risk behaviors, including engaging in violence and substance use, as well as academic problems. The analyses use self-report data from 16,302 adolescents (50.3 % female, 62.2 % Caucasian, 37.8 % African American) enrolled in 52 high schools. A series of three-level HLM analyses revealed that bullies and bully/victims were generally at greatest of risk of being involved in violence, engaging in multiple types of substance use, and having academic problems. These findings extend prior research by emphasizing a potential link between involvement in bullying and multiple health-risk behaviors, particularly among urban and African American high school youth.

Keywords

Bullying Gangs Substance use Schools Weapon carrying 

References

  1. Arbuckle, J. L., & Wothke, W. (1999). AMOS 4.0 user’s guide. Chicago, IL: SmallWaters Corporation.Google Scholar
  2. Arthur, M. W., Briney, J. S., Hawkins, J. D., Abbott, R. D., Brooke-Weiss, B. L., & Catalano, R. F. (2007). Measuring risk and protection in communities using the Communities That Care Youth Survey. Evaluation and Program Planning, 30(2), 197–211.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey, J. A. (2009). Addressing common risk and protective factors can prevent a wide range of adolescent risk behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 107–108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1978). Social learning theory of aggression. Journal of Communication, 28, 12–29.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bandyopadhyay, S., Cornell, D. G., & Konald, T. R. (2009). Validity of three school climate scales to assess bullying, aggressive attitudes, and help seeking. School Psychology Review, 38, 338–355.Google Scholar
  6. Battistich, V., & Hom, A. (1997). The relationship between students’ sense of their school as a community and their involvement in problem behaviors. American Journal of Public Health, 87(12), 1997–2001.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berger, K. S. (2007). Update on bullying at school: Science forgotten? Developmental Review, 27, 90–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Birnbaum, A. S., Lytle, L. A., Hannan, P. J., Murray, D. M., Perry, C. L., & Forester, J. L. (2003). School functioning and violent behavior among young adolescents: A contextual analysis. Health Education Research, 18(3), 389–403.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bjerregaard, B. (2010). Gang membership and drug involvement: Untangling the complex relationship. Crime and Delinquency, 56(1), 3–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bradshaw, C. P., Mitchell, M. M., O’Brennan, L. M., & Leaf, P. J. (2010). Multilevel exploration of factors contributing to the overrepresentation of Black students in office disciplinary referrals. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(2), 508–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bradshaw, C. P., O’Brennan, L. M., & McNeely, C. A. (2008a). Core competencies and the prevention of school failure and early school leaving. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 122, 19–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bradshaw, C. P., O’Brennan, L., & Sawyer, A. L. (2008b). Examining variation in attitudes toward aggressive retaliation and perceptions of safety among bullies, victims, and bully/victims. Professional School Counseling, 12(1), 10–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bradshaw, C. P., Sawyer, A. L., & O’Brennan, L. M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36(3), 361–382.Google Scholar
  14. Bradshaw, C. P., Sawyer, A. L., & O’Brennan, L. M. (2009). A social disorganization perspective on bullying-related attitudes and behaviors: The influence of school context. American Journal of Community Psychology, 43, 204–220.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bradshaw, C. P., & Waasdorp, T. E. (2009). Measuring and changing a “culture of bullying”. School Psychology Review, 38(3), 356–361.Google Scholar
  16. Buhs, E. S., Ladd, G. W., & Herlad, S. L. (2006). Peer exclusion and victimization: Processes that mediate the relation between peer group rejection and children’s classroom engagement and achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Burrow-Sanchez, J. J. (2006). Understanding adolescent substance abuse: Prevalence, risk factors and clinical implications. Journal of Counseling and Development, 84(3), 283–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2011). Youth risk behavior surveillance system. Retrieved June 8, 2012 from http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/yrbss.
  19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (in press). Bullying surveillance among school-age children: uniform definitions and recommended data elements. Washington, DC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Google Scholar
  20. Dill, E. J., Vernberg, E. M., Fonagy, P., Twemlow, S. W., & Gamm, B. K. (2004). Negative affect in victimized children: The roles of social withdrawal, peer rejection, and attitudes toward bullying. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 32, 159–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dodge, K. A., Lansford, J. E., Burks, V. S., Bates, J. E., Pettit, G. S., Fontaine, R., et al. (2003). Peer rejection and social information-processing factors in the development of aggressive behavior problems in children. Child Development, 74(2), 374–393.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Donovan, J. E., Jessor, R., & Costa, F. M. (1988). Syndrome of problem behavior in adolescence: A replication. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56(5), 762–767.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Enders, C. K., & Tofighi, D. (2007). Centering predictor variables in cross-sectional multilevel models: A new look at an old issue. Psychological Methods, 12(2), 121–138.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Farmer, T. W., Estell, D. B., Bishop, J. L., O’Neal, K. K., & Cairns, B. D. (2003). Rejected bullies or popular leaders? The social relations of aggressive subtypes of rural African American early adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 39, 992–1004.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Farrington, D. P., & Ttofi, M. M. (2011). Bullying as a predictor of offending, violence and later life outcomes. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 21, 90–98.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fletcher, A., Bonell, C., Sorhaindo, A., & Strange, V. (2009). How might schools influence young people’s drug use? Development of theory from qualitative case-study research. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 126–132.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Giang, M. T., & Graham, S. (2007). Using latent class analysis to identify aggressors and victims of peer harassment. Aggressive Behavior, 34(2), 203–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ginni, F., & Pozzoli, T. (2009). Association between bullying and psychosomatic problems: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 123(3), 1059–1065.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Glew, G. M., Ming-Yu, F., Katon, W., Rivara, F. P., & Kernic, M. A. (2005). Bullying, psychosocial adjustment, and academic performance in elementary school. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 159, 1026–1031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Goebert, D., Else, I., Matsu, C., Chung-Do, J., & Chang, J. Y. (2011). The impact of cyberbullying on substance use and mental health in a multiethnic sample. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 15, 1282–1286.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Graham, S., Bellmore, A., Nishina, A., & Juvonen, J. (2009). It must be me: Ethnic diversity and attributions for peer victimization in middle school. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 487–499.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Graham, S., & Juvonen, J. (2002). Ethnicity, peer harassment, and adjustment in middle school: An exploratory study. Journal of Early Adolescence, 22, 173–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Guerra, N. G., & Bradshaw, C. P. (2008). Linking the prevention of problem behaviors and positive youth development: Core competencies for positive youth development. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 122, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hawker, D. S. J., & Boulton, M. J. (2000). Twenty years’ research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment: A meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41, 441–455.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Haynie, D., Nansel, T., Eitel, P., Crump, A., Saylor, K., Yu, K., et al. (2001). Bullies, victims, and bully/victims: Distinct groups of at-risk youth. Journal of Early Adolescence, 21(1), 29–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Higgins, G. E., Khey, D. N., Dawson-Edwards, C., & Marcum, C. D. (2012). Examining the link between being a victim of bullying and delinquency trajectories among an African American sample. International Criminal Justice Review, 22(2), 110–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hill, K. G., Howell, J. C., Hawkins, J. D., & Battin-Pearson, S. R. (1999). Childhood risk factors for adolescent gang membership: Results from the Seattle Social Development Project. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 36(3), 300–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hirschi, T. (1969). Causes of delinquency. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  39. Holmes, S. R., & Bandenburg-Ayres, S. J. (1998). Bullying behavior in school: A predictor of later gang involvement. Journal of Gang Research, 5(2), 1–6.Google Scholar
  40. Juvonen, J., Wang, Y., & Espinoza, G. (2011). Bullying experiences and compromised academic performance across middle school grades. Journal of Early Adolescence, 31, 152–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Khantzian, E. J. (1997). The self-medication hypothesis of substance use disorders: A reconsideration and recent applications. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 4(5), 231–244.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kim, M. J., Catalano, R. F., Hagerty, K. P., & Abbott, R. D. (2011). Bullying at elementary school and problem behavior in young adulthood: A study of bullying, violence, and substance use from age 11 to 21. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 21, 136–144.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lemus, R. L., & Johnson, F. A. (2008). Relationship of Latino gang membership to anger expression, bullying, ethnic identity, and self-esteem. Journal of Gang Research, 16, 13–32.Google Scholar
  44. Loeber, R., Farrington, D. P., Stouthamer-Loeber, M., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., White, H. R., et al. (2003). Development of male offending: Key findings from fourteen years of the Pittsburg Youth Study. In T. T. M. Krohn (Ed.), Taking stock of delinquency: An overview of findings from contemporary longitudinal studies (pp. 93–136). New York: Klewer/Plenum.Google Scholar
  45. Lowry, R., Cohen, L. R., Modzeleski, W., Kann, L., Collins, J. L., & Kolbe, L. J. (2009). School violence, substance use, and availability of illegal drugs on school property among US high school students. Journal of School Health, 69(9), 347–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 2094–2100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Niemela, S., Brunstein-Klomek, A., Sillanmaki, L., Helenius, H., Piha, J., Kumpulaninen, K., et al. (2011). Childhood bullying behaviors at age eight and substance use at age 18 among males. A nationwide prospective study. Addictive Behaviors, 36, 256–260.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. O’Brennan, L., Bradshaw, C. P., & Sawyer, A. L. (2009). Examining developmental differences in the social-emotional problems among frequent bullies, victims, and bully/victims. Psychology in the Schools, 46(2), 100–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school. Oxford, England: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  50. Patterson, G. R., DeBaryshe, B. D., & Ramsey, E. (1989). A developmental perspective on antisocial behavior. American Psychologist, 44(2), 329–335.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Radcliff, K. M., Wheaton, J. E., Robinson, K., & Morris, J. (2012). Illuminating the relationship between bullying and substance use among middle and high school youth. Addictive Behaviors, 37, 569–572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  53. Sawyer, A. L., Bradshaw, C. P., & O’Brennan, L. M. (2008). Examining ethnic, gender, and developmental differences in the way children report being a victim of “bullying” on self-report measures. Journal of Adolescent Health, 43, 106–114.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Schafer, J. L., & Graham, J. W. (2002). Missing data: Our view of the sate of the art. Psychological Methods, 7(2), 147–177.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Schwartz, D., & Proctor, L. J. (2000). Community violence exposure and children’s social adjustment in the school peer group: The mediating roles of emotion regulation and social cognition. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 670–683.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Skiba, R. J., Michael, R. S., Nardo, A. C., & Peterson, R. L. (2002). The color of discipline: Sources of racial and gender disproportionality in school punishment. Urban Review, 34(4), 317–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Slade, E., Stuart, E. A., Salkever, D. S., Karakus, M., Green, K. M., & Ialongo, N. (2008). Impacts of age of onset of substance use disorders on risk of adult incarceration among disadvantaged urban youth: A propensity score matching approach. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 95, 1–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Solberg, M., & Olweus, D. (2003). Prevalence estimation of school bullying with the Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire. Aggressive Behavior, 29(3), 239–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Spriggs, A. L., Iannotti, R. J., Nansel, T. R., & Haynie, D. L. (2007). Adolescent bullying involvement and perceived family, peer and school relations: Commonalities and differences across race/ethnicity. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41, 283–293.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Swahn, M. H., Bossarte, R. M., West, B., & Topalli, V. (2010). Alcohol and drug use among gang members: Experiences of adolescents who attend school. Journal of School Health, 80, 353–360.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Swearer, S. M., Espelage, D., Vaillancourt, T., & Hymel, S. (2010). What can be done about school bullying?: Linking research to educational practice. Educational Researcher, 39(1), 38–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Thornberry, T. P., & Krohn, D. (2001). The development of delinquency: An interactional perspective. In S. O. White (Ed.), Handbook of Youth and Justice (pp. 289–305). New York, NY: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tobin, R., Schwartz, D., Gorman, A. H., & Abou-ezzeddine, T. (2005). Social-cognitive and behavioral attributes of aggressive victims of bullying. Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 329–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tolan, P. H., Gorman-Smith, D., & Henry, D. B. (2003). The developmental ecology of urban males’ youth violence. Developmental Psychology, 39(2), 274–291.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ttofi, M. M., & Farrington, D. P. (2011). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: A systematic and meta-analytic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 7(1), 27–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Ttofi, M. M., Farrington, D. P., Losel, F., & Loeber, R. (2011). The predictive efficiency of school bullying versus later offending: A systematic/meta-analytic review of longitudinal studies. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 21, 80–89.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. United States Department of Justice. (2011). National drug threat assessment (DOJ Product No. 2011-Q0317-001). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  68. Van Horn, M. L., Hawkins, J. D., Arthur, M. W., & Catalano, R. F. (2007). Assessing community effects on adolescent substance use and delinquency. Journal of Community Psychology, 35(8), 925–946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Vieno, A., Gini, G., & Santinello, M. (2011). Different forms of bullying and their association to smoking and drinking behavior in Italian adolescents. Journal of School Health, 81, 393–399.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Voisin, D. R. (2007). The effects of family and community violence exposure among youth: Recommendations for practice and policy. Journal of Social Work Education, 43(1), 51–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wang, Y., Lee, C., Lew-Ting, C., Hsiao, C. K., Chen, D., & Chen, W. J. (2005). Survey of substance use among high school students in Taipei: Web-based questionnaire versus paper-and-pencil questionnaire. Journal of Adolescent Health, 37(4), 289–295.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. WestEd. (2009). Healthy kids survey. Retrieved from July 29, 2009. http://www.wested.org/cs/chks/print/docs/chks_home.html.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine P. Bradshaw
    • 1
  • Tracy Evian Waasdorp
    • 1
  • Asha Goldweber
    • 1
  • Sarah Lindstrom Johnson
    • 2
  1. 1.Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthJohns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth ViolenceBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Johns Hopkins School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations