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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
June 8, 2011

Bullying Among Middle School and High School Students—Massachusetts, 2009

JAMA. 2011;305(22):2283-2286. doi:

MMWR. 2011;60:465-471

3 tables omitted

Multiple studies have documented the association between substance use, poor academic achievement, mental health problems, and bullying.1,2 A small but growing body of research suggests that family violence also is associated with bullying.3 To assess the association between family violence and other risk factors and being involved in or affected by bullying as a bully, victim, or bully-victim (those who reported being both bullies and victims of bullying), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC analyzed data from the 2009 Massachusetts Youth Health Survey. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which showed significant differences in risk factors for persons in all three bullying categories, compared with persons who reported being neither bullies nor victims. The adjusted odds ratios (AORs) for middle school students for being physically hurt by a family member were 2.9 for victims, 4.4 for bullies, and 5.0 for bully-victims, and for witnessing violence in the family were 2.6, 2.9, and 3.9, respectively, after adjusting for potential differences by age group, sex, and race/ethnicity. For high school students, the AORs for being physically hurt by a family member were 2.8 for victims, 3.8 for bullies, and 5.4 for bully-victims, and for witnessing violence in the family were 2.3, 2.7, and 6.8, respectively. As schools and health departments continue to address the problem of bullying and its consequences, an understanding of the broad range of associated risk factors is important for creating successful prevention and intervention strategies that include involvement by families.

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