Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Ethnic Identity and Subjective Well-Being of Bully Participants

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Ethnic Identity and Subjective Well-Being of Bully Participants

Article excerpt

School counselors historically have been at the forefront of helping youth deal with peer-related stressors such as bullying. In recent years, researchers have produced a plethora of scholarship to help the field better understand the phenomenon of bullying among school-age children, including early adolescents. Such scholarship has examined the various negative outcomes of bullying for victims and perpetrators (e.g., Hay & Meldrum, 2010; Robinson & Espelage, 2011) and effective approaches to preventing bullying in schools (e.g., O'Connell, Pepler, & Craig, 1999; Polanin, Espelage, & Pigott, 2012). Despite the emergence of an increasing body of research on the subject, significant gaps remain in the literature on bullying, particularly for marginalized groups of children and adolescents (Polanin & Vera, 2013; Swearer & Espelage, 2004). For example, the vast majority of bullying research to date has examined the construct as universal in nature and has failed to attend to cultural differences that may exist (Garnett et al., 2014; Mendez, Bauman, & Guillory, 2012; Polanin & Vera, 2013). The extant research also tends to focus on the negative outcomes of bullying participation but often fails to examine whether bullying behaviors impact indices of positive well-being such as life satisfaction or positive affect.

One area within the bullying literature that needs further exploration is the relationship between cultural identity and bullying participation (i.e., victimization and/or perpetration) for ethnic minority youth. Several researchers have suggested that ethnic minority groups receive a disproportional amount of victimization from bullies (Averdijk, Muller, Eisner, & Ribeaud, 2011; Garnett et al., 2014; Mendez et al., 2012; Verkuyten & Thiis, 2002), and that youth from other historically marginalized groups such as children with a disability or lesbian, gay, or bisexual adolescents receive proportionally more bullying attacks than do children who are part of the cultural majority (Kosciw, Diaz, & Greytak, 2008; Poteat & DiGiovanni, 2010; Rose, Monda-Amaya, & Espelage, 2010). While youth with salient cultural identities such as being an ethnic minority or a student with a disability may be easier targets for bully victimization, aspects of cultural identity also could be tied to the reasons that kids perpetrate bullying. Although this has not yet been answered by existing research, it is plausible that youth who feel negatively about their cultural group membership may attempt to elevate their own status by victimizing peers in other groups, creating a bullying hierarchy (Polanin & Vera, 2013). Furthermore, according to the findings of several studies, kids who are bully-victims often start out as victims and then bully as a response to being victimized (Arseneault, Bowes, & Shakoor, 2010, Haynie et al., 2001). Hence, kids who were bullied because of a stigmatized cultural group identity may be at greater risk to become perpetrators of bullying who target other cultural minority youth.

Particular concern about youth who fall into the category of bully-victims may be reasonable. Researchers have found that kids who have been both victims and perpetrators of bullying are at highest risk for disorders of physical and mental health as compared to kids who were either solely victims or perpetrators (Wolke, Copeland, Angold, & Costello, 2013). It is important not only to look at correlates of bullying such as academic, mental, and physical health problems but also at the extent to which indices of adaptive daily living or subjective well-being such as positive and negative affect or life satisfaction are related to bullying experiences. Although one might assume that youth who are involved in bullying their peers do so because of existing mental health issues, some positive developmental outcomes are likely also associated with such behavior. For example, researchers have found that bully perpetrators exhibit some signs of positive well-being such as emotional and social competencies (Woods, Wolke, Nowicki, & Hall, 2009) and popularity among peers (Juvonen, Graham, & Schuster, 2003). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.