Non-heterosexual teens bullied more

Nov. 23, 2011 at 3:19 PM
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BOSTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Both cyberbullying and school bullying victimization are higher among non-heterosexually identified U.S. youths, researchers say.

In fall 2008, researchers surveyed 20,406 high school students in Boston's MetroWest region to assess their bullying victimization and psychological distress, including depressive symptoms, self-injury and tendency toward suicide.

The study, published online ahead of the January print issue of the American Journal of Public Health, found 15.8 percent of students reported cyberbullying and 25.9 percent reported school bullying in the past 12 months.

Reports of cyberbullying were higher among girls than among boys, whereas reports of school bullying were similar by gender, but cyberbullying and school bullying were higher among non-heterosexually identified teens.

Victims of bullying reported lower school performance and school attachment as well as elevated levels of depressive symptoms and suicide attempts, the study said.

"Our study provides a better understanding of cyberbullying and its relationship to school bullying, which is critical to informing school-based prevention efforts and engaging parents and other community members in combating this significant public health issue."

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