Understanding Factors Associated with Bullying and Peer Victimization in Chinese Schools Within Ecological Contexts
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We review factors associated with school bullying and peer victimization in the People’s Republic of China (hereafter referred to as China) within the context of Bronfenbrenner (Am Psychol 32:513–531, 1977) ecological systems framework. Bullying and peer victimization are serious problems in Chinese schools, which calls for effective school-based bullying prevention and intervention strategies. However, understanding of this phenomenon has been limited because the majority of the empirical studies have examined individual characteristics (e.g., age, gender), and relatively few Chinese researchers have considered various contexts of the social ecology, such as cultural contexts. We first discuss the definition and prevalence, which is followed by a review of socio-demographic and ecological factors (micro-, meso-, exo-, and macrosystem) that are correlated with school bullying and peer victimization in Chinese schools. Findings from our review suggest that factors at the socio-demographic (age, gender, behavioral/mental health problems), micro- (parents, peers, and teachers), meso- (parents’ involvement in children’s school), exo- (mass media), and macrosystem (emphasis on academic achievement and collectivism vs. individualism) levels can foster or mitigate bullying and peer victimization among children and adolescents in Chinese schools. We then draw implications for assessment, practice, and policy concerning school bullying and peer victimization in China.