School bullying and drug use later in life: A meta-analytic investigation.
The main aim of this article is to investigate whether there is a significant long-term association between bullying at school and drug use later in life. A meta-analysis is presented based on results from major prospective longitudinal studies with available unadjusted and adjusted effect sizes. Results are based on thorough systematic searches of the literature across 19 databases and 63 journals. The unadjusted summary effect size suggests that youth who bully are at least twice as likely compared with noninvolved students to use drugs later in life (OR = 2.22, 95% CI: 1.60-3.07). The adjusted summary effect size is markedly reduced to an OR of 1.41 (95% CI: 1.20-1.66) suggesting that a lot of variation in the final model is explained by other contributing factors, while bullying has a significant yet small effect over and above the contribution of these factors. Contributing factors include childhood risks falling within the individual, family, and school domains that are significantly associated with both the predictor and the outcome. It is concluded that school bullying, drug use, and other problem behaviors are intercorrelated; thus, highlighting the need to create a meaningful holistic framework for the prevention of drug problems and other associated mental, emotional, and behavioral maladies. Implications for policy and practice arising from these findings are discussed.