Research consistently shows that victims of bullying are at an elevated risk of developing health and mental health problems, especially internalizing problems, alcohol use, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The current study investigates whether adolescents who reported writing about violence are less at risk of internalizing problems, suicide ideation, and alcohol use when they are victims of bullying. The study sample included youth who participated in the Resilience Project (N = 638; 54% Female; Mean age = 15.8 years), which examined risky sexual behaviors among African American adolescents in four neighborhoods in Chicago’s Southside. The sample was primarily of low socioeconomic status, with about 75% receiving some form of government assistance. Findings show mixed support for a protective association between reporting writing about violence and each outcome. Contrary to our hypothesis, youth who reported writing about violence showed higher internalizing problems and suicide ideation. However, reporting writing about violence significantly moderated the association between bullying victimization and suicide ideation. It also moderated the association between bullying victimization and alcohol use. The interaction for suicide ideation confirmed the positive association between reporting writing about violence and suicide ideation. In contrast, the interaction with alcohol use showed a protective association but only for youth with high bullying victimization. Reporting writing about violence independently moderated the association between bullying victimization and suicide ideation, and bullying victimization and alcohol use. These findings have implications for practice and future research.
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- African American