Peer Victimization as a Pathway to Adolescent Substance Use

Livingston | Miller | Testa | Derrick | Lucke | Nickerson
This research will examine the conditions under which bullying and sexual harassment among teens may contribute to emotional distress and the development of substance use.

Unfortunately, many youth experience abuse at the hands of their peers. Some experience few if any consequences, while for others, the consequences can be life-altering and severe. Little is known about the conditions under which peer victimization is most likely to cause harm and for whom. This research will examine the conditions under which peer victimization (i.e., bullying and peer sexual harassment) contributes to emotional distress and the development of substance use among adolescents, both acutely and over time.  A randomly selected sample of 13-15 year-old adolescents (N=950) will be recruited from the community to participate in a two-year longitudinal survey study of peer victimization, emotional adjustment, and substance use.  An 8-week daily process study will be embedded within the longitudinal survey to capture daily experiences of peer victimization and acute responses among a sub-sample of victimized students.  This multi-method approach will enable us to identify the circumstances under which peer victimization is deleterious and for whom, as well as potential protective factors that can be targeted for intervention.

Principal Investigator
Jennifer Livingston, PhD
Research Institute on Addictions

Co-Investigators
Kathleen Miller, PhD
Research Institute on Addictions

Maria Testa, PhD
Research Institute on Addictions

Jaye Derrick, PhD
Psychology Department
University of Houston

Joe Lucke, PhD
Research Institute on Addictions

Amanda Nickerson, PhD
Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention
University at Buffalo

Funding Agency
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

Grant Number
R01-AA021169

Dates
2013-2018