Risky behavior is more likely among bullies and bullying victims

Children who participate in martial arts classes at a young age quickly learn the importance of respecting others. These values can often lead to much more important life lessons than the self-defense techniques that are taught to them by their instructors. Many martial arts classes stress bullying prevention and teach children what to do if they are being picked on.

With a martial arts background, kids are far less likely to bully others. Bullying has been know to lead to other types of risky behaviors. A new study by researchers at the Boston University School of Education that appeared in a recent issue of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal shows that bullies, or victims of bullying, are more likely to engage in more risky sexual encounters.

“Some previous research has found that aggression and sexual risk-taking are related, so it was not entirely surprising that bullies and bully-victims reported more sexual risk-taking than their peers,” Melissa K. Holt, assistant professor in counseling psychology at the Boston University School of Education and lead researcher in the study, told Reuters.

Bullies, and those bullied, are more likely to act out
The researchers included nearly 9,000 high school students from 24 schools who took part in a survey about bullying and sexual behavior. While only 6 percent of respondents admitted to being bullies, 25 percent of those students said they have had casual sex and more than one-third have had sex when they are high or drunk, Reuters reported.

Six percent of students said they have been the bully, as well as a bullying victim. Of those respondents, 20 percent engaged in casual sex and 23 percent admitted to having sex under the influence. Only 7 percent of the 80 percent of students who said they were neither bullied or acted as bullies said they have had sex with people they didn’t know well. It is clear that bullying can have a real affect on the decision-making of high school students when it comes to sex.

“The bottom line is that bullying behavior is something that parents and teachers should be concerned about, both because of the deleterious effects of bullying itself, but also because of its association with other problems such as substance use, other aggressive behavior, criminal involvement, as well as depression and suicidality,” Amanda Nickerson, the director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, told Reuters.