Longitudinal Relations between Bullying Perpetration, Sexual Harassment, Homophobic Taunting, and Dating Violence: Evidence of Heterotypic Continuity

J Youth Adolesc. 2020 Oct;49(10):1976-1986. doi: 10.1007/s10964-020-01307-w. Epub 2020 Aug 29.


Although evidence suggests that the perpetration of bullying, sexual harassment, homophobic taunting, and dating violence co-occur, there is a dearth of longitudinal research that considers these four forms of interpersonal aggression together. Using a developmental cascade model, the current study examined the longitudinal development of aggressive and controlling behavior over time and the moderating role of gender beginning in pre-adolescence to the transition to young adulthood. Data were from a sample of 608 Canadian adolescents (55% girls/women; 64% white) assessed annually from age 10 (Grade 5) to age 19 using self-reports. Bullying perpetration was stable across adolescence and predicted the perpetration of sexual harassment, homophobic taunting, and dating violence at age 19. No gender differences were found. The findings support a model of heterotypic continuity, whereby stability in bullying beginning in pre-adolescence is related to involvement in multiple forms of aggression in young adulthood; aggression changes as individuals develop.

Keywords: Bullying; Dating violence; Developmental cascade model; Heterotypic continuity; Homophobic taunting; Sexual harassment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Aggression
  • Bullying*
  • Canada
  • Crime Victims*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Sexual Harassment*
  • Young Adult