Bullied Teens More Likely to Take Weapons to School
Jim LiebeltJim Liebelt's Blog
- 2017 Nov 28
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
Bullied teens are twice as likely to take weapons such as guns or knives to school, a new study reveals.
Three factors were linked to greater odds of high school students carrying a weapon during school hours: fighting at school; being threatened or injured at school; and skipping school out of fear for their safety.
"If kids were being bullied, but not in fear of their physical safety, then there was not an increased risk of carrying a weapon," said lead researcher Dr. Andrew Adesman. He is chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park.
However, "almost 50 percent of kids who felt all three threats carried a weapon," Adesman said.
School violence is a serious issue in the United States, with 45 reported school shootings in 2015 alone, the researchers said in background notes. Adesman's team wanted to see how peer aggression might influence the likelihood of weapons-carrying.
The researchers used data from the 2015 U.S. Youth Risk Behavior Survey on more than 15,600 teens in grades 9 through 12. The investigators focused on three types of weapons: guns, knives and clubs.
The findings showed that slightly more than one in five students reported being bullied during the past year. Of these kids, a little more than 4 percent said they took a weapon to school in the previous month.
Teens who skipped school because they feared for their safety were more than three times likelier to carry a weapon than kids not abused. Those who had fights at school were more than five times likelier to carry a weapon, the researchers found.
And teens who were threatened or injured at school were nearly six times more likely to take a weapon to school.
Students who faced all three problems were much more likely to be armed at school (46 percent) than teens who weren't bullied (2.5 percent), according to the study.
However, it's not known how often those weapons were used or whether kids who reported being bullied and being armed were also bullies themselves, Adesman said.
The report was published online in the journal Pediatrics.