For all of those out there who got bullied in their teenage years and took solace in the knowledge that their tormenters likely would wind up failures, take notice – you were probably right.
Okay, so that’s a bit extreme. This bit of research really has nothing to do with how the lives of the bullies turn out in the long run. Except, that is, for the wishful thinking that they might get lung cancer, become alcoholics or get sent to jail for weed. In a new paper published by Kisha Radliff of the Ohio State University, surveys show that there is a strong correlation between kids involved in bullying and the likelihood that they take up drinking, smoking or marijuana use.
Radliff surveyed 78,333 students from 16 public school districts, 5 private schools, the Catholic Diocese and a countywide school open to students from any of the public school districts in Franklin County. The students were in middle or high school and asked to self-report on how much they bully or are bullied, as well as their substance use.
After crunching the numbers – and it seems like there were a ton of numbers – Radliff found a large connection between taking the role of a bully and trying out one of the three substances mentioned. For example, among high school students, 13.3 percent of those not involved in bullying were marijuana users – compared to 31.7 percent of bullies, 29.2 percent of those who had been both bullies and victims, and 16.6 percent of victims.
Similar results were found for alcohol and tobacco use.
While there was some connection between being a victim and using alcohol or tobacco in high school students, I was nowhere near as strong as a connection for those who had participated in some sort of bullying.
All in all, bullying was more prevalent in middle school than high school, while substance abuse was higher in high school than middle school. But throughout both, the two were strongly connected. Though a mere connection between the two doesn’t point to a whole lot, it could support the theory that those willing to step out of line and torment peers in middle school are also more willing to step out of line and experiment with drugs in high school.
Radliff uses this as a basis of thought to intervene with bullies in middle school in order to stop them from using drugs in high school before they start.
In my opinion, maybe they ought to start looking for a correlation to both bullying and drug use with level of intelligence. In my experience, it seems like the latter might be controlling both of the first two.