David Snyder

Bully pulpit: New data shows key role of parents in reducing bullying

A fascinating new analysis of data on bullying appeared in the October issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. Looking at data from the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children (HBSC) 2005 Survey, a nationally representative sample of grades 6–10, the article's author looked at the connection between various bullying behaviors and their association with sociodemographic characteristics, parental support, and friends.

The data shows that in the two months prior to the survey, students were most likely to have been involved in verbal and/or social bullying, either as a bully or victim; more 50 percent of students fell into those categories. About 20 percent were involved in physical bullying, and roughly 13 percent in cyberbullying.

All sorts of interesting, if perhaps unsurprising, breakdowns emerge. For instance, having more friends is associated with more bullying and less victimization, and girls are more likely to engage in social or "relational" bullying than boys, who tend more toward verbal and physical bullying.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the analysis is that parental support is associated with less involvement in all forms of bullying. It's yet another piece of evidence that parents play a critical role in creating healthy school environments.

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