Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 9, pp 1880–1893 | Cite as

Longitudinal Examination of the Bullying-Sexual Violence Pathway across Early to Late Adolescence: Implicating Homophobic Name-Calling

  • Dorothy L. EspelageEmail author
  • Kathleen C. Basile
  • Ruth W. Leemis
  • Tracy N. Hipp
  • Jordan P. Davis
Empirical Research


The Bully-Sexual Violence Pathway theory has indicated that bullying perpetration predicts sexual violence perpetration among males and females over time in middle school, and that homophobic name-calling perpetration moderates that association among males. In this study, the Bully-Sexual Violence Pathway theory was tested across early to late adolescence. Participants included 3549 students from four Midwestern middle schools and six high schools. Surveys were administered across six time points from Spring 2008 to Spring 2013. At baseline, the sample was 32.2% White, 46.2% African American, 5.4% Hispanic, and 10.2% other. The sample was 50.2% female. The findings reveal that late middle school homophobic name-calling perpetration increased the odds of perpetrating sexual violence in high school among early middle school bullying male and female perpetrators, while homophobic name-calling victimization decreased the odds of high school sexual violence perpetration among females. The prevention of bullying and homophobic name-calling in middle school may prevent later sexual violence perpetration.


Bullying Sexual violence Homophobic name-calling Middle school Adolescents 


Authors’ Contributions

D.L.E. conceptualized and designed the study, collected the data, maintained ethics board approval, drafted the initial manuscript, and reviewed and revised the entire manuscript; K.C.B. helped conceptualize and design the study, drafted the initial discussion, edited the initial introduction, and reviewed and revised the entire manuscript; R.W.L. and T.N.H. helped conceptualize and design the study, edited the initial Introduction, helped draft the initial discussion, and reviewed and revised the entire manuscript; J.P.D. helped conceptualize and design the study, carried out the analyses, wrote the methods and results sections, and reviewed and revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


Middle school data in this manuscript were drawn from a grant from the CDC (1U01/CE001677) to D.E. (PI). High school data in this manuscript were drawn from a grant from the National Institute of Justice (Grant #2011- 90948-IL-IJ) to D.E. (PI). Analyses and manuscript preparation was supported through an inter-personnel agency agreement (IPA) between University of Florida (Espelage) and the CDC (17IPA1706096).

Data Sharing Declaration

This manuscript’s data will not be deposited.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the University of Illinois Institutional Review Board. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10964_2018_827_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary Table 1(DOCX 12 kb)
10964_2018_827_MOESM2_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary Table 2(DOCX 13 kb)
10964_2018_827_MOESM3_ESM.docx (26 kb)
Supplementary Figures 1 &2


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and ControlCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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