Trends in Bullying, Physical Fighting, and Weapon Carrying Among 6th- Through 10th-Grade Students From 1998 to 2010: Findings From a National Study

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Abstract

Objectives

We examined trends from 1998 to 2010 in bullying, bullying victimization, physical fighting, and weapon carrying and variations by gender, grade level, and race/ethnicity among US adolescents.

Methods

The Health Behavior in School-Aged Children surveys of nationally representative samples of students in grades 6 through 10 were completed in 1998 (n = 15 686), 2002 (n = 14 818), 2006 (n = 9229), and 2010 (n = 10 926). We assessed frequency of bullying behaviors, physical fighting, and weapon carrying as well as weapon type and subtypes of bullying. We conducted logistic regression analyses, accounting for the complex sampling design, to identify trends and variations by demographic factors.

Results

Bullying perpetration, bullying victimization, and physical fighting declined from 1998 to 2010. Weapon carrying increased for White students only. Declines in bullying perpetration and victimization were greater for boys than for girls. Declines in bullying perpetration and physical fighting were greater for middle-school students than for high-school students.

Conclusions

Declines in most violent behaviors are encouraging; however, lack of decline in weapon carrying merits further attention.

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