Methods: Racially diverse middle and high school students in the Midwest (n = 3,549) were surveyed at four time points from Spring 2008 to Spring 2013. A latent class analysis was used to identify classes of individuals according to endorsement of traditional and cyber bullying and sexual harassment perpetration items in high school. Using multinomial logistic regression models, we then assessed late middle school predictors of class membership across different levels of the social ecology based on participants’ perceptions.
Results: Four classes were identified: (1) low all (n=1,261); (2) traditional bullying perpetration (n=604); (3) traditional and cyber bullying perpetration (n=450); and (4) high all, consisting of traditional and cyber bullying and sexual harassment perpetration (n=227). Preliminary results suggest that students with higher levels of anger, pornographic exposure, and traditional masculinity (individual level), and lower levels of social support and parental monitoring (relational level) had increased odds of being in the high all class when compared to the other classes. Surprisingly, higher levels of self-esteem and empathy (individual level) and school belonging (community level) also were associated with increased odds of being in the high all class.
Conclusions: While half of students reported low levels of bullying and sexual harassment, a high-risk group of perpetrators emerged with more associated risk factors in middle school. Interestingly, not all of the protective factors assessed were in the expected direction and this presentation will expand on these findings. Overall, findings suggest that prevention efforts may want to consider addressing both forms of aggression within traditional and online contexts early in adolescence using a multi-level approach across the social ecology.