Online Program

Bullying and substance use among youth in anchorage, Alaska

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gabriel James Garcia, PhD, MA, MPH, Department of Health Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK
BACKGROUND: One in five youths in the U.S. have been bullied in school. Youths who are bullied are more likely to do poorly in school, have mental health problems, and have poor social functioning. In the Anchorage School District, bullying among youth has not been previously studied. Moreover, the link between bullying and substance use in this specific population has not been investigated. The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence of bullying among Anchorage youth, identify who are more likely to be bullied, and assess the relationship between bullying and substance use.

METHODS: The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Anchorage, Alaska sample was analyzed, using SPSS with complex sampling module to provide appropriate population estimates. Proportion of bullying was assessed between different grade levels, sex, and race/ethnicity. Relative risk ratio was calculated between bullying and use of substances including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and prescription drugs.

RESULTS: About 21% of Anchorage youth reported being bullied on school property in the past 12 months. Bullying prevalence was not significantly different for males and females and between whites and minorities. More 9th graders reported being bullied than other grade levels. Youths who are bullied are 60% more likely to drink alcohol, 90% more likely to binge drink, and 35% more likely to use marijuana, cocaine, or prescription drugs.

CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that bullying prevention should begin early in youth development. Moreover, the link between being bullied and substance use underscores the importance of addressing bullying in substance abuse prevention programs.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the prevalence of bullying among youth in Anchorage, Alaska and the characteristics of those who are bullied. Explain the relationship between bullying and substance use among youth.

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Drugs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been doing research on youth risk behaviors for more than 10 years. I have been a recipient of both internal and external grants related to this research topic and serve as an adviser and consultant in youth serving organizations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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