, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 201-223

The Roles of Ethnicity and School Context in Predicting Children's Victimization by Peers

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Abstract

This study examines the prevalence, stability, and contextual correlates of peer victimization in a sample of African-American, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic White urban elementary school-age children. A total of 1956 children (40% African-American, 42% Hispanic, and 18% White) attending any 1 of 14 public elementary schools located in one large and one mid-sized Midwestern city participated in this study. Peer ratings of victimization were obtained at two points in time, separated by a 2-year period. Findings revealed that risk for being victimized by peers varied by ethnicity and by school context. Hispanic children had lower victimization scores than did either African-American or White children. These findings, however, were moderated by school context, such that attending ethnically integrated schools was associated with a significantly higher risk of victimization for White children and a slightly lower risk of victimization for African-American children and did not affect the risk of victimization for Hispanic children. In addition, African-American children were less likely than Hispanic and White children to be repeatedly victimized by peers over time. The importance of considering ethnicity and context in explaining peer victimization is discussed and suggestions for preventive interventions and future research are provided.