Longitudinal Examination of the Bullying-Sexual Violence Pathway across Early to Late Adolescence: Implicating Homophobic Name-Calling

J Youth Adolesc. 2018 Sep;47(9):1880-1893. doi: 10.1007/s10964-018-0827-4. Epub 2018 Mar 2.


The Bully-Sexual Violence Pathway theory has indicated that bullying perpetration predicts sexual violence perpetration among males and females over time in middle school, and that homophobic name-calling perpetration moderates that association among males. In this study, the Bully-Sexual Violence Pathway theory was tested across early to late adolescence. Participants included 3549 students from four Midwestern middle schools and six high schools. Surveys were administered across six time points from Spring 2008 to Spring 2013. At baseline, the sample was 32.2% White, 46.2% African American, 5.4% Hispanic, and 10.2% other. The sample was 50.2% female. The findings reveal that late middle school homophobic name-calling perpetration increased the odds of perpetrating sexual violence in high school among early middle school bullying male and female perpetrators, while homophobic name-calling victimization decreased the odds of high school sexual violence perpetration among females. The prevention of bullying and homophobic name-calling in middle school may prevent later sexual violence perpetration.

Keywords: Adolescents; Bullying; Homophobic name-calling; Middle school; Sexual violence.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Bullying / prevention & control*
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Female
  • Homophobia / prevention & control*
  • Homophobia / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • School Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Sex Offenses / prevention & control*
  • Sex Offenses / psychology
  • Students / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires