The Impact of School Bullying on Racial/Ethnic Achievement

Abstract

Significant bodies of scholarship have explored family background and its implications for racial/ethnic differences in academic achievement. Much less attention, however, has focused on the ways in which victimization in schools—and bullying in particular—may impact student performance. Drawing on nationally representative data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 and employing multilevel analysis from four racial/ethnic groups (Asian, black, Latino, and white), this study examines: (1) the impact of bullying on achievement and (2) the extent to which high- or low-achieving students are more vulnerable to bullying. Results indicate that bullying is relatively more frequent among blacks who are higher achievers and that bullying has equally detrimental consequences on later achievement for all racial/ethnic groups considered in this study. These findings are discussed relative to prior research on racial/ethnic inequality, education, and victimization, and also public policy efforts to address bullying in schools.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We define practically significant bivariate correlations as correlations that are over 0.4.

  2. 2.

    ICC = between school variance (level 2)/between school variance (level 2) + within school variance (level 1).

  3. 3.

    Odds ratio: 1/(1 + exp-(log odds of being bullied across schools)).

  4. 4.

    We conducted a Wald’s test to consider whether the interactions have any effect on bullying. Based on this test, we conclude that at least one of the interactions between race/ethnicity and 9th-grade GPA has an effect on the likelihood of being bullied in school.

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Correspondence to Anthony A. Peguero.

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Williams, L.M., Peguero, A.A. The Impact of School Bullying on Racial/Ethnic Achievement. Race Soc Probl 5, 296–308 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-013-9105-y

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Keywords

  • Race and ethnicity
  • Achievement gap
  • Youth violence
  • Bullying
  • Victimization
  • School outcomes