Bullying is a major public health issue, the risk factors for which are poorly understood.
To determine whether cognitive stimulation, emotional support, and television viewing at age 4 years are independently associated with being a bully at ages 6 through 11 years.
We used multivariate logistic regression, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, to adjust for multiple confounding factors.
Parental cognitive stimulation and emotional support at age 4 years were each independently protective against bullying, with a significant odds ratio of 0.67 for both variables associated with a 1-SD increase (95% confidence interval, 0.54-0.82 for cognitive stimulation and 0.54-0.84 for emotional support). Each hour of television viewed per day at age 4 years was associated with a significant odds ratio of 1.06 (95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.11) for subsequent bullying. These findings persisted when we controlled for bullying behavior at age 4 years in a subsample of children for whom this measure was available.
The early home environment, including cognitive stimulation, emotional support, and exposure to television, has a significant impact on bullying in grade school.