[2725.3] Exponential, Not Additive, Increase in Risk of Weapons Carrying by Adolescents Who Themselves Are Frequent and Recurrent Victims of Bullying

Lana Schapiro, Andrew Adesman. Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, NY.

BACKGROUND: In the wake of Columbine and other school-based tragedies, there is increased recognition that victims of bullies (VoB) pose a considerable threat to student safety both on and off school property. Efforts are now focused on trying to identify factors that predict which students pose the greatest threat to the safety of others. To date, there has been no analysis of high school (HS) students nation-wide to assess which risk factors in combination increase the likelihood that a VoB may carry a weapon and thus pose a danger to public safety.
OBJECTIVE: To determine which prior bullying experiences – alone and in combination – most increase the likelihood that a victim of bullying will carry a weapon.
DESIGN/METHODS: Data from the CDC's 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System were analyzed for grades 9-12 (N=15,425). Being a VoB was measured through a single self-report question: “During the past 12 months, have you ever been bullied on school property?” VoB were compared with those who denied being a VoB, adjusting for age, sex, grade, race, height, weight, and BMI %ile. Weapons carrying (WC) was defined by responses to 2 questions: "During the past 30 days, on how many days did you carry a gun?" and "During the past 30 days, on how many days did you carry a weapon such as a gun, knife, or club on school property?" The frequency of 4 risk factors were analyzed singly and in combination: 1) did not go to school because you felt unsafe at school or in transit to school, 2) had property stolen or deliberately damaged, 3) been in a physical fight, or 4) has been threatened or injured with a weapon. All analyses were done using procedures specifically suited for survey data in SAS 9.2.

CONCLUSIONS: Bullying can take many forms. Students who have been victimized repeatedly and in multiple ways are most likely to carry a weapon in school and in the community. More effective interventions must be implemented to protect those students who are recurrent VoB.


Session: Platform Session: Injury Prevention (1:00 PM - 3:00 PM)
Date/Time: Sunday, May 4, 2014 - 1:30 PM
Room: West 223-224 - Vancouver Convention Centre
Course Code: 2725


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