Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 109, Issue 2, pp 183–194 | Cite as

Bullying victimization and illicit drug use among students in Grades 7 to 12 in Manitoba, Canada: a cross-sectional analysis

  • Sarah Turner
  • Tamara Taillieu
  • Janique Fortier
  • Samantha Salmon
  • Kristene Cheung
  • Tracie O. Afifi
Special Section on Substance Use: Quantitative Research



There is inconsistent evidence examining the relationship between bullying victimization and illicit drug use, with most studies only examining the association between bullying victimization and marijuana use. The current study aims to (1) determine the relationship between bullying victimization and six types of illicit drug use among boys and girls in grades 7 to 12 and (2) examine gender and grade differences in the relationships between bullying victimization and drug use.


Data were drawn from the Manitoba Youth Health Survey (N = 64,174) collected in the 2012–2013 school year among students in grades 7 to 12 from Manitoba, Canada. Logistic regression models were used to analyze the relationships between nine different types of bullying victimization and marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, ecstasy, hallucinogens, and prescription/over-the-counter drugs used to get high. All analyses were stratified by gender and grade.


Bullying victimization was associated with increased odds of all types of drug use among boys and girls in grades 7 to 12. A dose-response relationship was noted with more frequent bullying victimization corresponding to greater odds of drug use. Grade and gender differences were found for some drug use types.


There are strong relationships between bullying victimization and illicit drug use among boys and girls in grades 7 to 12, indicating that reductions in bullying victimization may result in reductions in illicit drug use. Grade and gender differences may signify the need for early and gender-specific bullying prevention and intervention strategies.


Adolescent Bullying Victimization Drug users 



Les études qui examinent le lien entre être victime d’intimidation et l'utilisation de drogues illicites varient et la plupart examinent seulement le lien à l'utilisation de la marijuana. Cette étude vise à : 1) déterminer la relation entre être victime d’intimidation et l’utilisation de six types de drogues illicites chez les élèves de la 7e à la 12e année et 2) examiner les différences entre sexe et niveaux scolaires.


Les données provenaient de l’Enquête sur la santé des jeunes au Manitoba en 2012–2013 (N = 64,174). Des modèles de régression logistique, stratifiés selon le sexe et niveaux scolaires, ont été adoptés pour analyser les liens entre neuf types d’intimidation et la marijuana, la cocaïne, les méthamphétamines, l'ecstasy, les hallucinogènes, et les médicaments sur ordonnance ou sans ordonnance.


Être victime d’intimidation était associé à une augmentation des risques d’utilisation de chaque type de drogues parmi les deux sexes et chaque niveau scolaire. La probabilité d’utilisation de drogues augmentait avec la fréquence accrue d’intimidation. Des différences de niveaux scolaires et de sexe ont été observées pour l’utilisation de certains types de drogues.


Il existe de fortes relations entre être victime d’intimidation et l'utilisation de drogues illicites chez les garçons et les filles de la 7e à la 12e année. Ceci suggère que la réduction d’intimidation pourrait être associée à une réduction d’utilisation de drogues illicites. Les différences de niveaux scolaires et de sexe suggèrent le besoin de stratégies de prévention et d'intervention précoces et adaptées selon le sexe.


Adolescent Intimidation Victimisation Toxicomane 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Registry, CancerCare Manitoba for supporting the use of Youth Health Survey data.


Preparation of this article was supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Award (Afifi) and CIHR Foundation Scheme Award (Afifi).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest to declare by any author. The results and conclusions are those of the authors and no official endorsement by CancerCare Manitoba is intended or should be inferred.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Turner
    • 1
  • Tamara Taillieu
    • 2
  • Janique Fortier
    • 1
  • Samantha Salmon
    • 1
  • Kristene Cheung
    • 3
  • Tracie O. Afifi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community Health SciencesUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  2. 2.Applied Health Sciences ProgramUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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