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Increased gun violence risk among bullied students

The Nation’s Health, a publication of the American Public Health Association reports on a study published July 3 by the University of Washington School of Public Health in the Journal of Adolescent Health about the relationship between bullying and gun violence. Researchers used data from the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey to analyze if being bullied increases the likelihood of having access to a loaded gun without adult permission.

The study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28652055) found that students who are bullied in school are more likely to have access to a loaded gun than their peers, causing an increased risk for youth violence and self-harm.

“The strength of the association between bullying and gun access is alarming,” said Maayan Simckes, PhD, lead author of the study, in a news release. “We’re not sure why bullied students are more likely to report access to gun, but we now know the risk is there and it is high.”

According to The Nation’s Health, “the study brings to light the importance of interventions focused on addressing bullying, assisting targets of bully victimization and stopping youth access to firearms. Students who are bullied face an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness and low self-esteem, according to the study. In turn, they are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse substances and sustain injury.”

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