The co-occurrence of substance use and bullying behaviors among U.S. adolescents: understanding demographic characteristics and social influences

J Adolesc. 2012 Oct;35(5):1351-60. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.05.003. Epub 2012 Jun 13.


This study examined the co-occurrence of subtypes of substance use and bullying behaviors using latent class analysis and evaluated latent class differences in demographic characteristics, peer and parental influences. Self-reported questionnaire data were collected from a nationally representative sample (N = 7508) of 6-10th grade adolescents in the United States. Four latent classes were identified: the non-involved (57.7%), substance users (19.4%), bullies (17.5%), and substance-using bullies (5.4%). Older and Hispanic adolescents were more likely to be substance users and substance-using bullies, whereas younger and African American adolescents were more likely to be bullies. Females were more likely to be substance users, whereas males were more likely to be bullies and substance-using bullies. Spending more evenings with peers posed greater risks for substance use, bullying, and the co-occurrence of both problem behaviors. Paternal knowledge exerted protective effects over-and-above the effects of maternal knowledge. Implications for prevention and intervention efforts are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Bullying*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology