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Examining the Pathways Between Bully Victimization, Depression, Academic Achievement, and Problematic Drinking in Adolescence

NCJ Number
Psychology of Addictive Behaviors Volume: 32 Issue: 6 Dated: 2018 Pages: 605-616
Jodan P. Davis; Tara M. Dumas; Gabriel J. Merrin; Dorothy L. Expelage; Kevin Tan; Danielle Madden; Jun Sung Hong
Date Published
12 pages
This study expanded and tested several theoretical models that address the longitudinal relationships between bullying victimization, depression, academic achievement, and problematic drinking from three approaches: Interpersonal risk model, symptom driven model, and a transactional model.

Prior research has failed to consider these associations at the within-person level, which is arguably a more relevant level of analysis. The current study sampled 1,875 students from four Midwestern middle schools. Who were followed for 2 years. Baseline age ranged from 11-13 years with a racially diverse sample (44.3 percent African American, 29.2 percent White, 7 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 16.5 percent Multi-Racial). The current study used an auto-regressive latent trajectory with structured residuals (ALT-SR) model to examine the within-person cross-lagged associations between bullying victimization, depression, academic achievement, and problematic drinking. Results support an interpersonal risk model, in which experiences of early bullying victimization resulted in a cascade of problems throughout middle school. This interpersonal risk model also established that academic achievement was a key mechanism linking bullying victimization to problematic drinking during adolescence. No evidence was found for a traditional symptom driven model (e.g., stemming from depression); however, long-term problems stemming from early problematic drinking were found. Results are discussed in relation to prevention interventions for problematic drinking as well as screenings for early adolescent depression, bullying victimization, and academic problems. (publisher abstract modified)