Casual sex and sex while drunk or high was more common among bullies and bully-victims than among other teens, a survey of more than 8 600 high school students found. Bully-victims are children who are both bullies and bullied.
Programmes aimed at preventing bullying and reducing unhealthy sexual practices should address the potential link between bullying and sexual risk-taking, the researchers suggested. However, the study does not prove that bullying causes teens to engage in risky sex.
Adolescence is a time when risk-taking is a concern, another expert noted. "We know that frontal lobes are still developing and judgment is not well-formed," said Dr. Victor Fornari, director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y. "Teens who are bullies may resort to higher-risk behaviour, including higher-risk sexual behaviour," he said. "Bullying has all kinds of consequences," Fornari added. "This is one more negative consequence."
For more information on bullying, visit Stopbullying.gov.