Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 409–431 | Cite as

Bullying in Adolescent Residential Care: The Influence of the Physical and Social Residential Care Environment

  • Ivana Sekol
Original Paper



To date, no study examined possible contributions of environmental factors to bullying and victimization in adolescent residential care facilities.


By testing one part of the Multifactor Model of Bullying in Secure Setting (MMBSS; Ireland in Int J Adolesc Med Health 24(1):63–68, 2012), this research examined the way the physical and social residential environment relates to bullying and victimization in adolescent residential care.


Young people aged 11–21 (N = 272) from ten residential institutions in Croatia completed: (a) an anonymous self-reported bullying questionnaire; (b) the social residential environment questionnaire; and (c) the physical residential environment questionnaire.


The results demonstrated that both bullies and victims reported having significantly lower levels of perceived peer support than other residents. Male bullies also reported significantly lower levels of their overall wellbeing within their facilities and were significantly more likely than non-bullies to perceive their facilities as having problems with cleanliness and food. Male victims were significantly younger than non-victims. Female victims reported lower levels of their overall wellbeing than non-victims as well as poorer relationship with staff.


The results are discussed with reference to the relevant prison and school-based bullying literature and directions for future research are provided. Overall, the findings of this study are consistent with the part of the MMBSS (Ireland 2012) examined and provide initial support for the notion that the special nature of the physical and social residential environment may be important in explaining bullying in care.


Bullying Adolescent residential care The physical residential environment The social residential environment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationJosip Juraj Strossmayer University of OsijekOsijekCroatia

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