For the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers evaluated surveys filled out by almost 9,000 high school students from 24 different schools across the United States. The questionnaires asked kids about their experience with bullying and tackled topics such as casual sex, as well as having sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Researchers found that 20 percent of kids had some experience with bullying - either as bullies themselves or being bullied by someone else. Of the six percent who admitted to bullying other students, about 25 percent admitted said they engaged in casual sex. For the kids who were bullied and also victims of bullying, 20 percent engaged in casual sex and 23 percent admitted to have sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In comparison, of the kids who did not have experience with bullying, only seven percent reported having had casual sex while 12 percent admitted to having sex under the influence. These numbers were similar for the kids who were bullied but who had never bullied others.
"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," lead author, Melissa K. Holt, of Boston University School of Education said in an interview with Reuters.
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