The relation among addictions with and without substance and bullying: more than a casual question


Alcohol and other drug use in minors continue to be a source of serious social concern, as reflected in the latest edition of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs [ESPAD] in 2015. However, this is not the only area to be addressed in the field of addictions, especially in minors. Problematic Internet use (PIU), as well as Gambling and Gaming, in adolescents are sparking a degree of social alarm. And bullying and cyberbullying constitute another challenge facing society in our time, generating growing concern among researchers, families and institutions. Despite evidence of severe implications of this issue in school life, wellbeing, and personal development of adolescents, little research has been conducted on the relation among these three problems. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to know the relation among those there aforementioned problems, so that it could guide the development of comprehensive prevention strategies.

A selective methodology was used, consisting of a survey of compulsory secondary education and baccalaureate students in Santiago de Compostela and the metropolitan area (Spain). The final sample consisted of 3,188 adolescents aged between 12 and 17 (M = 14.44 and SD = 1.67). The data were collected through an ad hoc questionnaire. This comprised screening tests for risky uses (the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), the CRAFFT Abuse Screening Test, the Cannabis Abuse Screening Test (CAST), the substance use/abuse scale of the Problem Oriented Screening Instrument for Teenagers (POSIT), and the Problematic Internet Use in adolescents (PIUS-a); questions extracted from the National Survey on Drug Use in Secondary School students in Spain (ESTUDES) and the ESPAD to collect information on the consumption habits for both alcohol and other drugs; the European Bullying Intervention Project Questionnaire (EBIP-Q) and the European Cyberbullying Intervention Project Questionnaire (ECIP-Q).

The prevalence of suffering bullying was 28.5% (16.4% victims and 12.1% were bully-victims), and the percentage of bullies was 5.9%. In terms of cyberbullying, the prevalence of cybervictimization was 9.5% (5.2% victims and 4.3% were cyberbully-victims), while 5% were cyberbullies. It was found that percentages of substance use, risky substance use, binge drinking, and PIU were significantly higher among those who were victims compared to those who were not, among bullies, and especially among bully-victims. Bully-victims had significantly higher positive rates in the AUDIT, the CRAFFT, the CAST, the POSIT and the EUPI, with figures that triple the percentage of those who are not involved.

The results obtained from this study show the prevalence of bullying and cyberbullying in our context (Spain). Moreover, the results provide a deeper knowledge of this issue within the broader context of adolescent development, revealing some associations between this issue and other risky behaviors such as alcohol and other drug use. This fact evinces the need to implement prevention strategies from a comprehensive approach.


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