On the Association Between Repeat Bully Victimizations and Carrying a Firearm: Evidence in a National Sample

Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2016 Jun;60(8):871-96. doi: 10.1177/0306624X15573547. Epub 2015 Mar 2.


Bullying is a significant public concern. The purpose of the present study is to investigate whether being repeatedly victimized by a bully during childhood and adolescence is associated with gun carrying in adolescence and adulthood. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, we found that just over one fourth of the respondents reported carrying a gun at some point in their lifetime. Respondents experiencing repeat bully victimizations reported higher rates of gun carrying during the last 12 months and the last 30 days. No support was found for the association of repeat bully victimizations and carrying a gun to school. Individuals victimized during childhood (before the age of 12) and during adolescence were found to be at risk of carrying a gun later in the life course. Repeat bully victimizations should be considered a marker for gun-carrying behaviors in adolescence and adulthood.

Keywords: bully victimization; bullying; firearm.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bullying*
  • Child
  • Crime Victims*
  • Female
  • Firearms*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • United States