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25-06-2020 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 9/2020 Open Access

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 9/2020

Differences and Similarities between Perpetrators of Ethnic and Non-Ethnicity-Based Victimization

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 9/2020
Sevgi Bayram Özdemir, Clover Giles, Metin Özdemir
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Immigrant and minority youth are at risk of ethnic victimization. Despite an increasing number of studies that aim to understand the consequences of such negativity, relatively little attention has been paid to understanding who the perpetrators of ethnic victimization are. To address this gap in knowledge, the present study examined whether youth who victimize their peers due to their ethnic background are also those who engage in non-ethnicity-based victimization. The study also investigated the underlying factors, i.e., impulsivity, empathy, moral disengagement, and attitudes toward immigrants, that are common or specific to groups of youth. The sample included 949 adolescents residing in Sweden (Mage = 13.11, SD = 0.41; range: 12–15; 46% girls). Cluster analysis revealed four distinct groups of adolescents, based on their reports of ethnic and non-ethnicity-based victimization: (1) low on both forms of victimization, (2) high on ethnic victimization only, (3) high on non-ethnicity-based victimization only, and (4) high on both forms of victimization. The results showed that being morally disengaged is a common denominator of ethnic and non-ethnicity-based victimizers. Difficulties in regulating impulses and lack of perspective-taking skills trigger youth’s engagement in non-ethnicity-based victimization. Lack of empathic concerns and low levels of positive attitudes toward immigrants are the bases of ethnic victimization. Together, these findings suggest that the precursors of ethnic and non-ethnicity-based victimization have similarities as well as differences, which require further attention in developing programs aimed at preventing different forms of peer victimization.

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