Bullying and HIV Risk Among High School Teenagers: The Mediating Role of Teen Dating Violence

Moses Okumu, Cecilia Mengo, Bernadette Ombayo, Eusebius Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Teen dating violence (TDV), bullying, and HIV risk behaviors are public health concerns that impact adolescents in the United States. National estimates reveal high rates of these risk behaviors among high school students. Based on theoretical and empirical evidence, we hypothesized that experiencing teen dating violence (sexual and physical) would mediate the impact of bullying on HIV risk. 

METHODS: Data were from the 2013 National Youth Behavior Risk Surveillance Survey (YRBSS) among students who answered questions on bullying, TDV, and HIV risk (N = 13,571). The YRBSS is conducted biennially among 9th- to 12th-grade students nationally. We used multiple regression analysis and Hayes' SPSS process macro to examine the 2 study hypotheses. 

RESULTS: Findings from bivariate analysis suggest an association between bullying and HIV risk. The study also found associations between physical, sexual teen dating violence and HIV risk. Results also indicate that both physical and sexual teen dating violence mediate the association between bullying and HIV risk. 

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that multidimensional interventions should be developed to reduce the rate of teen dating violence and combat bullying as a preventative method for HIV risk among high school students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-750
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


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