Bullying and Being Bullied Start at Home, Study Finds

Filed under: In The News, Bullying

bullying at home

Bullies -- and the victims of bullying on the schoolyard -- often experience the same violence at home. Credit: Getty Images

What happens behind a family's closed doors doesn't always stay there, especially when it comes to repeating bad behavior.

Bullies -- and the victims of schoolyard bullying -- often experience the same violence at home, a new study suggests.

Reuters reports researchers at the Centers for Disease Control found that middle school- and high school-aged bullies and victims reported being physically hurt by a family member or witnessing violence at home significantly more than those who had not been bullied.

According to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the researchers studied data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where state officials have been in the forefront of the bullying debate after the reported suicides of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince last year and 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover in 2009.

The state passed anti-bullying legislation in May 2010, which prohibits bullying in school and online, and mandates school-developed bullying prevention and intervention plans.

But in using the Massachusetts data, the CDC also found bullies and their victims reported being physically hurt by a family member or witnessing violence at home significantly more often than people who said they had not been bullied.

Twenty-six percent of middle school students and 15 percent of high school students reported being victims of bullying, according to the report. Fifty-six percent of middle school students and 69.5 percent of high school kids reported never being bullied. And 9.9 percent of middle school males and 12.1 of high school males reported being the bullies. Only 5 percent of middle school girls and 4.8 percent of high school girls were categorized as bullies.

"A comprehensive approach that encompasses school officials, students and their families is needed to prevent bullying among middle school and high school students," the CDC researchers say in the report.

The report, the CDC tells Reuters, was the first state-specific analysis of risk factors and bullying, and also notes that significant numbers of bullies and bully-victims said they had recently used alcohol or drugs.

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