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Original Investigation |

Bullying and Weapon Carrying:  A Meta-analysis

Mitch van Geel, PhD1; Paul Vedder, PhD1; Jenny Tanilon, PhD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Institute of Education and Child Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, the Netherlands
2Hotelschool The Hague, Den Haag, the Netherlands
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(8):714-720. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.213.
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Importance  Studies suggest that adolescents involved in bullying are more likely to carry weapons than their uninvolved peers.

Objective  To use meta-analyses to determine whether victims, bullies, and bully-victims are more likely to carry weapons than uninvolved peers.

Data Sources  PsycINFO, ERIC, MEDLINE, LILACS, EMBASE, and Dissertation Abstracts International were searched for relevant publications (1950 through January 2014). The reference list of a review article and reference lists of retrieved articles were checked for further relevant studies.

Study Selection  Studies were included if they provided an effect size comparing the weapon carrying of adolescent victims, bullies, or bully-victims with that of uninvolved peers. Studies that included individuals older than 21 years were excluded, as were studies that focused on incarcerated youth or youth diagnosed as having a psychopathologic condition.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Studies were coded independently by 2 of us. The agreement rate was 93%. Effect sizes were coded that compared victims, bullies, or bully-victims with uninvolved peers. Meta-analyses were based on 22 studies for victims (n = 257 179), 15 studies for bullies (n = 236 145), and 8 studies for bully-victims (n = 199 563).

Main Outcomes and Measures  This study focused on weapon carrying among adolescents. Hypotheses were formulated before the study.

Results  Victims (odds ratio, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.62-2.39), bullies (3.25; 2.72-3.89), and bully-victims (4.95; 3.77-6.50) were more likely to carry weapons than uninvolved peers. Analyses provided no indication of publication bias. Studies conducted in the United States found stronger relations between being a bully-victim and weapon carrying (odds ratio, 7.84; 95% CI, 6.02-10.21) than studies from other countries (3.62; 2.30-5.68; Q1 = 8.401; P = .004).

Conclusions and Relevance  Involvement in bullying as a victim, bully, or bully-victim is related to weapon carrying.

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Figures

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Figure 1.
Flow Diagram of the Literature Search Results

Reprinted with permission from Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG; PRISM Group. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analyses: the PRISM statement. PLoS Med. 2009;6(6):e1000097. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed1000097.

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Figure 2.
Forest Plot for the Effect Sizes Comparing the Weapon Carrying of Victims With Children Not Involved in Bullying

Data were pooled under the assumption of a random-effects model. The diamond reflects the overall effect size and 95% CI.

Graphic Jump Location
Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Figure 3.
Forest Plot for the Effect Sizes Comparing the Weapon Carrying of Bullies With Children Not Involved in Bullying

Data were pooled under the assumption of a random-effects model. The diamond reflects the overall effect size and 95% CI.

Graphic Jump Location
Place holder to copy figure label and caption
Figure 4.
Forest Plot for the Effect Sizes Comparing the Weapon Carrying of Bully-Victims With Children Not Involved in Bullying

Data were pooled under the assumption of a random-effects model. The diamond reflects the overall effect size and 95% CI.

Graphic Jump Location

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