Do offenders and victims drink for different reasons? Testing mediation of drinking motives in the link between bullying subgroups and alcohol use in adolescence

Addict Behav. 2014 Mar;39(3):713-6. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.11.011. Epub 2013 Nov 21.


Objectives: Previous studies have reported inconsistent evidence on associations between adolescents involved in different bullying subgroups (victims, offenders and offender-victims) and alcohol use. In addition, little is known about the underlying mechanisms between these bullying subgroups and alcohol use. The aim of this study was to clarify the association between the different bullying subgroups and alcohol use by investigating whether it is mediated by drinking motives.

Methods: Structural equation models were estimated based on a nationally representative sample of 2548 alcohol-experienced 12 to 17-year-olds who participated in the 2010 Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children survey in Switzerland.

Results: Consistent for both alcohol outcomes (drunkenness and drinking volume), male and female offenders presented higher levels of alcohol use than those not involved in bullying, not only per se (direct link) but also due to higher levels of enhancement and social drinking motives (indirect link). Victims, meanwhile, presented lower levels of alcohol use through an indirect link, with lower levels of enhancement (boys and girls) and social motives (boys). The higher levels of alcohol use among offender-victims were mediated by all four drinking motives among girls, and in particular by coping motives among boys.

Conclusions: In most cases, different levels of alcohol use in the bullying subgroups are due to differences in drinking motives. For prevention, it is important to take account of the differences in drinking motives and problems of offenders, victims and offender-victims.

Keywords: Adolescents; Alcohol use; Bullying; Drinking motives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Bullying / psychology*
  • Child
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Criminals / psychology*
  • Criminals / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Social Conformity
  • Switzerland / epidemiology