Association Between Bullying Victimization and Failure to Use Condom in Last Sexual Intercourse Among U.S. High School Students

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Background- Bullying victimization, both physical and electronic, has been associated with health risk behaviors such as smoking and substance use; and chronic conditions such as obesity, depression and sleep disorders. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between bullying victimization and risky sexual behavior. Failure to use condom in last sexual intercourse was used as an indicator of engagement in risky sexual activities. Methods- Data from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a biennial nationally representative survey of 9-12 grade students (N=15,624) were used. After cleaning and re-coding the data set, a total of 5,037 students who reported ever having sex in their lifetime were included in the analyses. The explanatory variable included in the multiple logistic regression analysis was bullying victimization. Marijuana use and feeling of sadness or hopelessness in a row for two weeks or more during past twelvemonths were included as covariates. The analyses were adjusted for age and race, and odds ratios were stratified by gender. Results- No significant association was found between being a bullying victim at school property and not using condom in last sexual intercourse for both male (OR: 1.08, 95% CI: 0.71-1.65) and female (OR: 0.98, 95% CI:0.65-1.47) students. This finding was consistent for both male (OR: 1.80, 95% CI: 0.89-3.65) and female (OR: 1.04, 95% CI: 0.70-1.55) victims of electronic bullying. Failure to use condom in last sexual intercourse was found to be associated with male students who were sad or hopeless in a row for two weeks or more during past 12 months (OR: 1.49,95% CI: 1.13-1.96). Conclusions- Failure to use condom in last sexual intercourse was not found to be significantly associated with bullying victimization. Other risky sexual behaviors such as having multiple sex partners, use of protective methods other than condom and use of drugs or alcohol before engaging into sexual relationship should be examined in further studies.


Johnson City, TN

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