For the past few years, attention has been paid on the social behavior of school aged children in order to understand children’s development.
This research paper tries to explore that attention emphasis to determine how certain variables affect the development of school aged children. This research paper specifically focuses if there is an influence in substance abuse such as alcohol and smoking when children are bullied. To research this question my hypothesis will explore if there is a relationship between each independent variable (frequency of drinking alcohol and amount of smoke) and the dependent variable (frequency of bullying). Considering the psychological effects of bullying, I hypothesized that based on the frequency of the bullying there will be a higher the association with substance abuse such as alcohol and cigarettes among teens.
Research and data has been collected and analyzed to understand the affect that bullying has among school age children.When it come to the subject of bullying, we have heard of it multiple times from peers, the media and movies, but what is it exactly? In accordance to the World Health Organization (WHO), bullying is described as a violent behavior that entails “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against a group or a community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development or deprivation” (WHO 2017). Bullying is a form of violence that involves a balance of power or the lack of thereof between the victim, the perpetrator and the bystander. Bullying can be a major stressor that can cause many adverse consequences. According to Quinn, Fitzpatrick, Bussey, Hides and Chan (p1) the consequences that are associated with bullying are “academic underachievement, engagement in high risk behaviors as well as psychological and psychosocial problems that may persist through adulthood”. One of the high risks that bullying perpetrators and victims tend to use as a coping method is smoking and alcohol use. Based on Quinn et al.
(2016) “pro-bullying behaviors were positively associated with all measures of substance use. This is consistent with previous research indicating that involvement in bullying places adolescents at increased risk of substance use” (2016, p2). Substance abuse, especially tobacco and alcohol can cause a higher risk of suicide and other ailments such as cancer. As a result, this trend leads to the speculation that due to the high stressor that bullying and other peer aggressions causes, it creates an association of alcohol and smoking as a coping mechanism.
Based on Topper, L., Castellanos-Ryan, N., Mackie, C., & Conrod, P. (2011) supports the claim of the association of alcohol use among victims of bullying. Topper discusses the findings that “Victims of adolescent bullying may therefore be motivated to use alcohol episodically in order to self-medicate or cope with their victimization: a style of drinking for which quantity and frequency measures may not be sensitive enough” (2011, p3).
Bullying can be such a stressful and traumatic experience that victims recurred to drinking alcohol in order to cope with the stress and a form to numb the pain that is caused by bullying. Adolescents that use alcohol as a coping mechanism are at greater risk because of the underlying problems such as suicidal ideation and attempts. Based on Swahn, M., Topalli, V.
, Ali, B., Strasser, S., Ashby, J.
, & Meyers, J. (2011) “youth who reported pre-teen (<13years of age) alcohol use initiation was significantly more likely than nondrinkers to also report suicide "(2011, p. 2).
Using alcohol as a self-medication or to numb the pain cause from bullying has great problems. Not only is bullying causing mental health issues, depression and engagement in high risk behaviors, but the use in alcohol heightens these tendencies making bullying victims to be able to drive the courage to actually go through the act of suicide. Alcohol is not the only not the only substance that can be misused by bully victims, bystanders and perpetrators.
Multiple studies show the high association of cigarette smoking among bullies and victims. The earlier a child experiences bullying, the more likely the child can get involve in risky behavior such as smoking, based on Vieno et al. (as cited in Azagba, S. 2016) discusses the study that was conducted in Finish males found that “those who were victimized at age 8 were more likely to be heavy smokers (defined as smoking at least 10 cigarettes a day) at age 18” (2011). It is imperative to see the signs of bullying as early as possible in order to prevent bullying and its detrimental effects. Early sign and prevention can prevent victims and bullies to be susceptible to smoking, according to Azagba, S. (2016) “bully victim students had higher odds of being susceptible to smoking than uninvolved students (OR = 1.
55, 95% CI = 1.27–1.88)” (2016, p4). This study supports the strong association of smoking due to bullying when compared to students to have never smoked or been bullied before. The susceptibility due to smoking goes to show the heightened risky behavior that is caused by bullying.
Bullying is a significant public health problem since bullying is attributed to major psychological and psychosocial problems that can lead to risky behavior and death. Of that risky behavior that pre-adolescent and adolescents that are involved in bullying is drug misuse such as alcohol and tobacco. The use of these substances as a coping mechanism heightens the already mental health problems that the victims and the bully are already going through. It is important that as parent, educators and friends to be able to recognize the signs of bullying in order to prevent substance abuse later on. Methodology This research paper will focus on quantitative research which will focus on examining the phenomenon of bullying and drug abuse through observations in numerical representations and through statistical analysis of the data provided by the study Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC). The Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) is international study in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to collect data on school-aged children about their behavior and attitudes.
The Health Behavior in School-Aged Children conducts this research every four years in order to collect data from children aged 11-15. The data collected can be categorized physical health, social environment well-being and health behaviors which can be used in medicine, psychology and so forth. For this particular research, the dataset is from 2009-2010 survey. This particular data contains 12,642 students from 314 schools.
In order to collect data from those 12,642 school aged children, they use a questionnaire that is administered in groups, the students complete the questionnaire individually but the school they attend is the group. The way that the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children designed their study was in three stages that overlapped the probability of the sampled design. To obtain the first level of sample, also known as Primary Sampling Units, researchers used random sampling by applying the probability theory method to ensure that the random sample would be a representation of the population. Additionally, in order to draw more sampling, schools were chosen out of the Census Division if they belonged to a district that have over ten different schools.
The next step was to narrow down the sampling unit by randomly picking schools from the primary sampling units. In order to fully eliminate errors and be able to represent the population, researchers use the third level of sampling by choosing schools that had more than one class per grade in order to randomly choose a classroom grade to be surveyed. The three variables that are analyzed in this research are: (1) how often is the student bullied at school, (2) presently how often does the student drink alcohol, and (3) how often does the student smoke tobacco presently. The first variable, how often is the student being bullied at school, is conceptualized on how often, during the last month has another student abused him or her verbally or physically. The student feels left out, or has another student repeatedly teased or said nasty things.
The second variable. The second variable, how often does the student drink alcohol, is conceptualized as the student’s perception of how many times they have had alcohol, even one or two sips. The last variable, how often How often do you smoke tobacco at present, is conceptualized as the student’s perception of how many times they have had a cigarette. The variable of how often is the student bullied at school was measured by the indicator of the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children’s survey question 65: “How often have you been bullied at school in the past couple of months?” Question 65 had five different options to choose from: (1) I haven’t been bullied at school the past couple of months, (2) it has only happened once or twice, (3) 2 or 3 times a month, (4) about once a week, and (5) several times a week. The variable on how often does the student frequently drinks was determined by question 75_comp2: “At present, how often do you drink anything alcoholic? Try to include even those times when you only drank a small amount (e.g.
one or two sips)”. The student had five different options to choose from to rate the frequency. These five different options were: (1) every day, (2) every week, (3) every month, (4) rarely, and (5) never. The last variable how often does the student smokes was assessed by question 74: “How often do you smoke tobacco at present?” This question had four different options that the students could choose from, those for options were: (1) every day, (2) at least once a week, but not every day, (3) less than once a week, and (4) I do not smoke.The 3 frequency tables above somewhat support the hypothesis that the amount of bullying correlates to drug abuse. In the table for frequency distribution 1, 4% of students reported that they have been bullied 2 to 3 times a month, 3% have been bullied once a week, another 4% reported that they have been bullied several times a week. The results were very surprising since I expected the data for the amount of kids being bullied to be higher. In frequency distribution table 2, 0.
74% of students reported that they have drank every day, 0.88% reported that they have drank every week, 4% every month. What really surprised me was that 82% reported that they have never drank before, which means that they never have had not even a sip. In frequency distribution table 3, when it came to smoking the percentage of that smoke was a bit higher than the ones that drank alcohol. When it came to smoking 2.23% reported that they had smoked every day, 2.
20% reported that they had smoked at least once a week, but not every day, and 4.15 said that they had smoke less than once a week. Even though the percentages were higher when compared to the ones that had alcohol, the percentage that had never smoked was much higher 91.43% compared to 82% that have never had a drink.Findings In order to test my hypothesis – if there is certain frequency of bullying, then there will be a higher association with substance abuse such as alcohol and cigarettes among teens, I used the bivariate analysis by making two charts.
The bivariate analysis examines the independent variable which is the amount that the student has been bullied, and the dependent variable, which is the frequency the student drinks and smokes. This will determine if there is any relationship between the frequency of bullying and drug use. I created two crosstabs analysis one by using “How often have you been bullied at school in the past couple of months?” which is labeled as Crosstabs 1, and “At present, how often do you drink anything alcoholic”, the other cross tabs analysis was by using “How often have you been bullied at school in the past couple of months?” and “How often do you smoke tobacco at present?” which is labeled as Crosstabs 2. From the Crosstabs 1 table, it shows that out of the 87 students that drink alcohol every day, 36 in total have been bullied from “several times a week” to “once or twice before”, on the other hand, 51 of them reported to never been bullied before. When it comes to the number of students that have never had alcohol before, not even a sip, 9672 reported to never have. From those 9672 that reported to have never had alcohol, 2629 reported to have been bullied either “once or twice” or “several times a week” and 7043 reported to never have been bullied.
To simplify the data, there were 11778 respondents, the number of students that reported ever having alcohol were 2106, from those 2106 students, 641 of them reported that they have been bullied before. In contrast, from those 11778 respondents, 9672 reported to have never had alcohol and 8508 responded to never have been bullied before. There seems to be a possible linear correlation between these two variables of bullying and alcohol use. From Crosstabs 2, there were 11842 respondents that answered the questionnaire. From those 11842 students, it shows that out of 952 students that reported to have smoked before, from every day to less than once a week, 341 have been bullied.
On the other hand, it shows that out of 10830 that do not smoke, 7885 students reported to never have been bullied before. Similarly, as in alcohol use, there seems to be a slight linear correlation between bullying and smoking. It appears that the students that have never had smoked or drink have never been bullied before. Due to the large sample of students that responded, the data that was analyzed turned out to be statistically significant. Within the crosstabs that were analyzed, there were enough number of data to be analyzed and be considered significant. The margin of error based on 95% confidence level is 2%, which is a small enough amount to determine the statistical findings. As a result, I was able to prove my hypothesis that there is a correlation between bullying and drug use.
From both crosstab tables, the analysis was able to show that the majority of students that were bullied had a tendency to drink alcohol or smoke tobacco. The students that were not bullied were less likely to smoke or drink. DiscussionEven though the results from this study shows that there was a linear correlation between bullying and drug use, it does not mean that correlation means causation. There must be other factors that may affect students to either use alcohol and smoke rather than bullying. It might also mean that because the students use alcohol and tobacco, the students are more likely to get bullied. Other factors that might as well affect the correlation besides bullying, are factors such as way of living, socioeconomic status and nurture.
When analyzing the correlations between bullying, frequency of alcohol use and smoking, I was able to gain further insight on the subject. The articles that were used in this research that were designed to explore the effects that bullying has on teenagers, gave further knowledge in the bullying psychological and physiological effects. A particular article written by Topper Adolescent bullying Victimisation andAalcohol-related problem Behaviour mediated by Coping Drinking motives over a 12 Month Period helped me understand that the motivation that caused the drug abuse such as alcohol and smoking has a big impact on how to prevent against risks that certain children may likely adopt.
If one understands that the factor that correlates to the drinking and smoking is due to bullying, then one can stop the factor and help prevent the student to self-medicate. Moreover, even though the data show some forms of bullying, future studies should use more comprehensive methods that are more consistent in order to measure bullying. Another limitation is that answers in the survey were self-reported and can cause response bias.
In order to prevent this, peer, teacher or parental assessments may help to better understand the correlations. Consequently, the results show that they might be a correlation between bullying and drinking, however, it does not fully explain the heighten risk. Future investigations should examine other factors that can expose a risk of drinking besides bullying— which will further the understanding to develop intervention and prevention strategies.