Public Health Resources


Date of this Version



J Sch Health. 2015; 85: 833-842


U.S. Government Work


BACKGROUND: Childhood exposure to adverse experiences has been associated with adult asthma, smoking, sexually transmitted disease, obesity, substance use, depression, and sleep disturbances. Conceptualizing bullying as an adverse childhood experience, 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data were used to examine the relationship between in-person and electronic bullying victimization among US high school students and health risk behaviors and conditions related to violence, substance use, sexual risk, overweight and physical activity, sleep, and asthma.

METHODS: Data were from the 2011 national YRBS among students who answered questions about in-person and electronic bullying (N=13,846). The YRBS is a biennial, nationally representative survey of students in grades 9-12 (overall response rate=71%). Logistic regression analyses, stratified by sex and controlling for race/ethnicity and grade, examined the association between bullying victimization and health risk behaviors or conditions.

RESULTS: Rates of victimization varied; 9.4% of students reported being bullied in-person and electronically, 10.8% only bullied in-person, 6.8% only electronically bullied, and 73.0% uninvolved. Bullying was associated with nearly all health risk behaviors and conditions studied.

CONCLUSION: Assessing the broad functioning and behaviors of victims of bullying could enable educators and health practitioners to intervene early and promote the long-term health of youth.