Bullying, Violence, and Gangs

May 14, 2013|By: Catherine Bradshaw, National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments, and Ingrid Donato, Chief, Mental Health Promotion Branch, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Ed Board member
Posted In: Response

The issue of bullying is a growing concern in schools across the United States.  A lot of research attention has been given to the overlap between bullying and other forms of youth violence, including gang related, as well as behavioral health risks, such as substance use. Bullying can be a big issue for schools since it not only creates a poor school environment for students but also impacts school staff.

A recent article in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence looks at the link between bullying involvement and other forms of youth violence and substance use. The study builds on prior research on the risks associated with bullying, especially among kids involved as primarily bullies as well as bully/victims. It broadens previous research by looking at more serious forms of violence, such as gang membership and weapon carrying, and looks at the potential impacts of student ethnicity and community. Highlights of the study’s report include:

  • The risks present among high school youth (grades 9–12), an age when the risk for more serious types of substance use, violence, and school failure is much higher than in elementary and middle school.
  • While the study suggests a great need for bullying prevention programming at the high school level, virtually no bullying prevention programs have been thoroughly tested or been shown to be highly effective among high school students.
  • Few models have been tested in U.S. urban settings, or with large populations of African American students.
  • The study highlights the need for more specific programming aimed at adolescents already involved in bullying, especially the bully/victim.
  • Because bullying and other health-risk behaviors can happen together, it seems that more programming needs to address the broad range of youth problems. This could include promoting core skills that will impact multiple outcomes, rather than narrowly on a particular behavior, such as bullying.

The lead author of this article, Catherine Bradshaw, will conduct a live webinar on the results of this study on Wednesday, May 22 from 4:00 - 5:30 PM EDT and Thursday, May 23 from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EDT. The webinar is hosted by the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments. Additional details on the webinar, including registration details are available through the link provided below.

Register for the webinar.

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