Objective: We examined the association between pre-teen alcohol use initiation and the victimization and perpetration of bullying among middle and high school students in Georgia.
Methods: We computed analyses using data from the 2006 Georgia Student Health Survey (N=175,311) of students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12. The current analyses were limited to students in grades 8, 10 and 12 (n=122,434). We used multilogistic regression analyses to determine the associations between early alcohol use and reports of both victimization and perpetration of bullying, perpetration only, victimization only, and neither victimization or perpetration, while controlling for demographic characteristics, other substance use, peer drinking and weapon carrying.
Results: Pre-teen alcohol use initiation was significantly associated with both bullying perpetration and victimization relative to non drinkers in bivariate analyses (OR=3.20 95%CI:3.03-3.39). The association was also significant between pre-teen alcohol use initiation and perpetration and victimization of bullying in analyses adjusted for confounders (Adj.OR=1.74; 95%CI:1.61-1.89). Overall, findings were similar for boys and girls.
Conclusion: Pre-teen alcohol use initiation is an important risk factor for both the perpetration and victimization of bullying among boys and girls in Georgia. Increased efforts to delay and reduce early alcohol use through clinical interventions, education and policies may also positively impact other health risk behaviors, including bullying. [West J Emerg Med. 2011;12(3):305-309.]