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01-08-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 8/2015

Socio-Cultural Context and Bulling Others in Childhood

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 8/2015
Carmen Morcillo, Maria A. Ramos-Olazagasti, Carlos Blanco, Regina Sala, Glorisa Canino, Hector Bird, Cristiane S. Duarte


The objective of this epidemiological study was to examine, using an ecological perspective, which individual and distal contextual factors (familial, social and cultural) are associated with bullying other children across two different sites. Our sample included 1,271 Puerto Rican children 10 and older years of age at baseline residing in the South Bronx in New York and in the Standard Metropolitan Area in San Juan and Caguas, Puerto Rico. Bullying others was assessed through parents’ and children’s response to one item in the conduct disorder section of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children Version IV. Child, family, social and cultural factors were examined as independent variables with bullying others as dependent variable in hierarchical models adjusting for gender, maternal education, poverty, single parent household and site. Prevalence of bullying others was 15.2 % in South Bronx versus 4.6 % in Puerto Rico (p < 0.0001). Poor social adjustment and academic achievement, parental harsh discipline, negative school environment, exposure to violence, peer delinquency and level of acculturation in the child were all risk factors for bullying others. Child acculturation accounted for site differences in rates of bullying others. We conclude that, besides the school context, specific aspects of the community, family, and culture influence the development of bullying perpetration and should be targets for interventions and prevention programs. Minority youth living in at-risk contexts may benefit from contextually sensitive preventive interventions that address how assimilation into a high-risk context may increase involvement in bullying perpetration.

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