1 This article was downloaded by: [ ] On: 21 May 2014, At: 15:31 Publisher: Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: Registered office: Mortimer House, Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Journal of School Violence Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: Social Ecology of Bullying and Peer Victimization of Latino and Asian Youth in the United States: A Review of the Literature Jun Sung Hong a, Anthony A. Peguero b, Shinwoo Choi c, Deirdre Lanesskog c, Dorothy L. Espelage d & Na Youn Lee e a School of Social Work, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA b Department of Sociology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA c School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA d Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA e School of Social Work and Department of Political Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA Accepted author version posted online: 13 Nov 2013.Published online: 19 May To cite this article: Jun Sung Hong, Anthony A. Peguero, Shinwoo Choi, Deirdre Lanesskog, Dorothy L. Espelage & Na Youn Lee (2014) Social Ecology of Bullying and Peer Victimization of Latino and Asian Youth in the United States: A Review of the Literature, Journal of School Violence, 13:3, , DOI: / To link to this article: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content ) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or
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3 Journal of School Violence, 13: , 2014 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC ISSN: print/ online DOI: / Social Ecology of Bullying and Peer Victimization of Latino and Asian Youth in the United States: A Review of the Literature JUN SUNG HONG School of Social Work, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA ANTHONY A. PEGUERO Department of Sociology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA SHINWOO CHOI and DEIRDRE LANESSKOG School of Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA DOROTHY L. ESPELAGE Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Champaign, Illinois, USA NA YOUN LEE School of Social Work and Department of Political Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA Existing research on bullying and peer victimization among school-age youth focuses on identifying risk and protective factors, developing interventions, and assessing outcomes to address this pervasive problem. This article reviews research on bullying and victimization of Latino and Asian youth. The review suggests that risk and protective factors associated with bullying among Latino and Asian youth might differ considerably from their mainstream peer groups that are often the focus of bullying research. This article examines the macrosystem- (immigration, poverty), exosystem-, and microsystem-level factors (family environment, peers, and school environment), along with ontogenetic factors that are related to bullying involvement among Latino and Asian youth in the United States. It also highlights the need for further investigation Received September 25, 2012; accepted October 13, Address correspondence to Jun Sung Hong, School of Social Work, Wayne State University, 4756 Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202, USA
4 316 J. S. Hong et al. into the bullying experiences of Latino and Asian youth, and advocates for the development of culturally relevant interventions. KEYWORDS schools bullying, peer victimization, Latino, Asian, youth, INTRODUCTION Bullying both direct and indirect has been recognized as a serious problem behavior among children in schools. Olweus (1993) provided a definition of bullying that has been widely adopted and remains current: A student is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students.... In order to use the term bullying, there should be an imbalance in strength (an asymmetric power relationship): the student who is exposed to the negative actions has difficulty defending him/herself and is somewhat helpless against the student or students who harass. (pp. 9 10) Until recently, little research has addressed the school bullying experiences of racial and ethnic minority students, even though the U.S. Department of Justice (2009) reported that 54% of Asians and 34% of Latinos reported experiencing peer victimization in the classroom, compared to 31% of White students. On the other hand, more recent data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (Robers, Kemp, & Truman, 2013) found that Asian students (ages 12 18) had the lowest rates of peer victimization (15%, compared to 31% for Whites, 27% for Blacks, and 22% for Latinos). When looking at specific forms of peer victimization, Asian students reported being made fun of (verbal bullying) less often than others (9% vs. 21% for Whites, 16% for Blacks) and also were less likely than others to be the subject of rumors (8% vs. 20% for Whites, 19% for Blacks, and 15% for Latinos). While all forms of bullying are problematic, the bullying of racial and ethnic minority students is uniquely defined as bullying that targets another s ethnic background or cultural identity in any way (McKenney, Pepler, Craig, & Connolly, 2006, p. 242). This includes direct forms of aggression such as racial/ethnic epithets, taunts, or negative statements about a particular culture, as well as indirect aggression, such as social exclusion due to racial or ethnic differences. Notably, research findings report even higher incidences of bullying and victimization among these populations. For instance, Low, Orpinas, Fleschler, and Sinicrope s (2005) findings from a sample of 2,165 fourth- and fifth-grade students in 13 elementary schools in Texas suggest that as many as 88% of Latino students are victimized by their peers,
5 Social Ecology of Bullying 317 and several research findings indicate that Asian students are more likely to be excluded and victimized by their peers than students of other racial and ethnic groups (Fisher, Wallace, & Fenton, 2000; Mouttapa, Valente, Gallaher, Rohrbach, & Unger, 2004). For instance, Fisher et al. (2000), using a sample of 177 adolescents (Grades 9 12) in an ethnically diverse urban public school, reported that Asian adolescents were victimized more frequently by their Asian peers than adolescents of other ethnicities. Sawyer, Bradshaw, and O Brennan (2008) also found that Latino and Asian students are more likely than White students to report all forms of peer victimization in their school. The prevalence of school bullying and victimization among Latino and Asian youth suggests the need for greater understanding of the risk and protective factors these youth experience. This article investigates the multiple level risk and protective factors for bullying and victimization experiences of Latino and Asian students. We attempt to provide a holistic profile of the risk and protective factors by integrating theoretical and empirical evidence on the influences of the various contexts. Given that it is necessary to examine the complex system of environments that influence these students, it is useful to organize the analysis using a social ecological framework. Clearly, the social ecological framework allows for an examination of the factors that directly and indirectly affect the individual youth, and his or her relationship with classmates and peers in school. The social ecological framework has previously been applied to research on bullying and peer victimization (Espelage & Swearer, 2010). It is clear from research and theory that students relationships and conflicts with their peers in school are influenced by configurations of factors within multiple systems levels, each of which encompasses the other (Hong & Espelage, 2012). The individual Latino and Asian student is nested in macrosystem, exosystem, microsystem, and ontogenetic contexts, which can foster or impede bullying and victimization (see Figure 1). We acknowledge that Latino and Asian are broad terminologies, which encompass multiple national and ethnic groups (Austin, Prendergast, & Lee, 1989), and that categorizing Latinos and Asians as monolithic groups can overlook the diverse cultures-of-origin of ethnic subgroups (e.g., Mexican). However, this was inevitable because of a dearth of studies on bullying and victimization that focus on specific Latino and Asian ethnic subgroups. In addition, we include both Latino and Asian students in our review because of the common experience these groups face in being stereotyped as foreigners (Huynh, 2012). This differential treatment based on perceived immigrant status may be distinct from treatment experienced by students of other racial or ethnic groups (e.g., Whites and Blacks). Further, both Latino and Asian students are likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds, which may result in differential treatment (Hwa-Froelich & Westby, 2003). And finally, understanding the multiple-level risk and protective factors for bullying and victimization among Latino and Asian youth is imperative because Latinos and Asians are the fastest growing sociocultural groups in the United States.
6 318 J. S. Hong et al. FIGURE 1 A conceptual framework for understanding bullying and peer victimization of Latino and Asian American youth. Notwithstanding the increasing presence of Latino and Asian youth in American school districts, there have been few research studies on bullying and peer victimization that focused specifically on these groups in comparison to other racial groups (e.g., Whites and Blacks). Thus, we present empirical evidence from studies that focused on Latino and Asian populations, specific subgroups of Latinos and Asians (e.g., Mexican), and a general population sample that includes Latino and Asian youth. Considering the changing characteristics of the U.S. demographics and the growing Latino and Asian populations (Somerville, 1991), crossgroup research is imperative (Rogoff & Morelli, 1989). SOCIAL ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK The theoretical framework utilized in this review is Bronfenbrenner s (1979) social ecological model. According to this framework, the individual youth is not only influenced by his or her ontogenetic characteristics such as gender and sociocultural group, but also his or her immediate settings or interactions and by the interrelations among the various settings and interactions of his or her immediate environment. Latino and Asian youth s peer relations and their propensity for bullying involvement are also encouraged or inhibited as a result of the complex interplay of four interrelated systems: microsystem (relation with one system), mesosystem (interrelations between two or more systems containing the individual youth), exosystem (interrelation between
7 Social Ecology of Bullying 319 two or more systems, of which one does not directly contain the individual youth), and macrosystem (broader context). The focus of this review is to examine the interrelated factors occurring at the ecological levels, which might influence peer interactions, and more specifically, bullying and victimization among Latino and Asian youth. Although ecological theory also suggests that mesosystem level can affect the microsystem, there is a paucity of research on the relation between mesosystem factor and bullying involvement among these youth. Therefore, the mesosystem was not included in this review. Implications for practice and policy are also discussed. Macrosystem The macrosystem comprises the overarching pattern of the micro-, meso-, and exosystems of a culture or subculture, with particular reference to the belief systems, customs, lifestyles, opportunity structures, and lifecourse options, which are embedded in each of these broader systems (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). This review pays particular attention to broader level factors such as immigration and poverty, both of which might affect the other systems levels and promote bullying and victimization among Latino and Asian youth. IMMIGRATION According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010), Latino and Asian populations grew considerably within the past decade due to high levels of immigration. Between 2000 and 2010, the Latino and Asian populations increased by 43%, from 35.3 million in 2000 to 50.5 million in 2010 among the Latino population, and from 10.2 million in 2000 to 14.7 million in 2010 among the Asian population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Approximately 60% of Latino and 70% of Asian youth live in families that have at least one parent who is a first-generation immigrant. The changing context of immigration has significant implications for American schools, as well as for the children of Latinos and Asians who are at risk for victimization at those schools. Many Latinos and Asians and their children encounter economic, social, and educational barriers as they arrive and settle in the United States. Immigrant families often reside in neighborhoods and attend schools affected by high levels of unemployment, segregation, disorder, and crime (Desmond & Kubrin, 2009; Ousey & Kubrin, 2009; Sampson, 2008; Zhou & Bankston, 2006). Although immigrants and their children often experience adversity in the United States, first-generation immigrants have better health and educational outcomes than individuals born in the United States, in spite of these disadvantaged circumstances. This phenomenon, often referred to as the immigrant paradox, suggests that as immigrant youth assimilate, they are likely to experience detrimental economic, social, and educational outcomes
8 320 J. S. Hong et al. (Martínez, 2006; Zhou & Bankston, 2006). Similarly, as Latino and Asian youth assimilate, the likelihood of being bullied and engaging in violence increases (Peguero, 2009, 2011; Sampson, 2008), their perceptions of school disorder increase (Watkins & Melde, 2009), relationships and bonds to teachers diminish (Peguero & Bondy, 2010; Watkins & Melde, 2010), and the perception of school fairness and justice diminish (Peguero, 2012a). The social and political debates on U.S. immigration policy are complex and are often discussed with biased and conflicting viewpoints. Much of the political debate is centered on a belief that increased immigration can lead to increased economic strain, unemployment, social disorder, and crime, despite the contrary (Desmond & Kubrin, 2009; Martínez, 2006; Ousey & Kubrin, 2009; Sampson, 2008). The threat of immigration has also entered the school environment, which potentially influenced Latino and Asian youth s relations with their peers and teachers. Consequently, Latino and Asian youth are frequently subjected to bullying, ridicule, discrimination, and harassment from other students, teachers, and school administrators (Lee, 2009; Olsen, 2008; Peguero, 2009). Perceptions of low academic competence, peer rejection, and fear of safety are all reflective of Latino and Asian youth s experiences within the American school system (Lee, 2009; Olsen, 2008; Peguero, 2009; Peguero & Bondy, 2010; Suárez-Orozco, Suárez-Orozco, & Todorova, 2008). Some schoolteachers perceive Latino and Asian youth as problems within their schools, feel burdened by their limited capabilities (e.g., language barrier), and argue that the immigrant youth diminish teachers and administrators ability to teach all students effectively and efficiently. As a result, teachers and school officials might hold negative and unwelcoming attitudes toward Latino and Asian students in their classes (Lee, 2009; Olsen, 2008; Suárez-Orozco et al., 2008). The school officials who hold these views rationalize them because of the lack of time to address the unique needs of the children of Latinos and Asians, perceived intensification of teacher workloads when immigrant youth are enrolled in their classes, and feelings of professional inadequacy to work with immigrant children (Lee, 2009; Olsen, 2008). In summary, the context of immigration within American schools impacts the likelihood that Latino and Asian youth will experience bullying, violence, harassment, isolation, and marginalization. Regrettably, however, limited empirical evidence for these assertions is a serious issue for the field. Research findings indicate that fear of safety and distrust of school authorities might place immigrant youth at a heightened risk for bullying involvement. There is also a need to examine the mechanisms underlying these associations for Latino and Asian youth. Similarly, although teacher support is related to bullying involvement (Espelage & Swearer, 2010), researchers have yet to examine the role of immigrant status in the links between student teacher relationships and bullying involvement for Latino and Asian youth.
9 Social Ecology of Bullying 321 POVERTY Studies have documented that immigration status is a significant predictor of living in poverty (National Council of La Raza, 2010) immigrant youth are significantly more likely than native-born youth to experience economic hardships and poverty. In 2008, 21% of immigrant youth were poor, compared with 15% of native-born youth (Chaudry & Fortuny, 2008). Poverty status can place Latino and Asian students into vulnerable positions, increasing their propensity for involvement in bullying situations. Stress due to poverty and low socioeconomic circumstances are negatively related to school outcomes among children and adolescents (Eamon, 2005) and bullying involvement among Latino students in school (Peguero & Williams, 2013; Peskin, Tortolero, Markham, Addy, & Baumler, 2007; Veliz, 2009). School bullying and victimization can result from low socioeconomic circumstances for Latino students, as they struggle amidst these obstacles to fit into the dominant American culture. To illustrate, Veliz (2009) reported that many second-generation Latina adolescents were targeted for bullying at school due to poor clothing, difficulty with English, and negative relationships with their teachers. This study provided critical insight into the lives of Latinas in the United States in a broad sense, but additional work is needed to investigate the experiences of different subgroups of Latinas and newer waves of immigrants, as demographics are rapidly changing with the rising number of second-generation youths (Veliz, 2009). Further, despite the significance of poverty status on immigration status, there are no studies, to our knowledge, that investigate how low-income circumstances impacts peer relationships among Latino and Asian youth. Researchers need to consider the difference in socioeconomic circumstances and educational attainment of immigrant students versus nonimmigrant students by including socioeconomic circumstance indicators to their studies. The macrosystems, the outer layer of the individual youth s environment, are the larger subcultural and cultural contexts in which exosystems, mesosystems, and microsystems are situated (Bronfenbrenner, 1977). The macrosystems consistently shape the exosystem level influences, such as educational and community inequalities, which, in turn, can affect family, peers, and school environment. Exosystem By definition, the exosystem level comprises inter-relations between two or more settings or interactions, one of which does not directly involve the individual. However, the occurrence of the settings or interactions indirectly influences processes within the direct setting where the developing person is situated (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). For example, educational and community inequalities due to lack of resources seem likely to impose serious barriers to the implementation of antiviolence and antibullying programs
10 322 J. S. Hong et al. within schools (microsystem), particularly in poorer minority and immigrant communities. Historically and currently, predominately racial and ethnic minority schools have limited resources (Olsen, 2008), which, in turn, limit the time and funding necessary for training school staff, incorporating antiviolence and antibullying lessons into the curriculum. High faculty and staff turnover within poorer schools limits the potential for long-term implementation of antibullying policies and practices. Additionally, situational contexts of violence and bullying for racial and ethnic minorities in the community overlap and are symbiotic with school environments (Brunson & Miller, 2009; Peguero, 2012b). Microsystem Understanding the influence of microsystems on youth behavior is critical, as microsystems are the mechanism through which development occurs (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). The microsystem concerns the immediate context in which bullying and peer victimization occur among Latino and Asian youth. Microsystems involve youth directly interacting with, influencing, and socializing one another (Rodkin & Gest, 2011). Microsystem contexts also include the youth s family, peers, and school. Moreover, a youth has a set of characteristics (e.g., gender, sociocultural group) within the microsystems, some of which influence how people in the immediate surrounding environment interact with and treat the child, and this treatment consistently affects youth development (Owen Blakemore, Berenbaum, & Liben, 2009). SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT As previously mentioned, community inequality due to lack of resources (exosystem) poses a serious barrier to the implementation of violence prevention programs within schools (microsystem), which can exacerbate bullying and peer conflicts among students. Likewise, youth behaviors are influenced by the community (Plybon & Kliewer, 2001), and these behaviors can be played out in the school environment (Espelage, Low, Rao, Hong, & Little, in press). Because the school setting provides the greatest opportunity for interactions between students (Youniss & Smollar, 1989), much of the research on bullying and victimization has focused on the school environment. Findings suggest that a negative school climate (e.g., lack of adult monitoring) can increase the likelihood of bullying involvement (Gregory et al., 2010; Hong & Espelage, 2012). School/academic factors contributing to bullying and victimization of Latino and Asian students, such as school opportunities (e.g., extracurricular activities) and academic achievement have been investigated by a number of researchers. Peguero, Popp, and Koo (2011) examined a link between school opportunities and peer
11 Social Ecology of Bullying 323 victimization from a national sample of 10,440 racially/ethnically diverse students in 580 public schools. While participation in school sports served as an insulating factor for White and Black students, sports participation was a risk factor for victimization of Latino and Asian students. Consistent with this finding, Peguero and Popp s (2012) follow-up study report that Latino and Asian male students involved in school sports displayed an increased likelihood of victimization at school, while White male students who participated in school sports experienced decreased victimization. Conversely, school sports involvement was linked to decreased victimization among girls, regardless of race or ethnicity. In addition to extracurricular activities, academic achievement is another potential risk factor for peer victimization among Asian students (Liang, Grossman, & Deguchi, 2007; Peguero & Williams, 2013; Qin, Way, & Mukherjee, 2008). The relatively high academic achievement of Asian students appears to be linked to discrimination against Asian students by their non-asian peers. For instance, Liang et al. (2007) conducted group interviews with 20 Chinese American students in sixth and seventh grade. These authors found that the students attributed their peer victimization experiences to prejudice and misconceptions about their cultural heritage. Victimized students reported experiencing verbal bullying, teasing and ridicule, all of which targeted their Asian characteristics, such as academic performance, physical appearance, and language or accent. Findings from another study (Rosenbloom & Way, 2004), which involved 20 Asian, 20 Latino, and 20 Black ninth-grade high school students, also revealed that Black and Latino students explicitly targeted Asian students because they resented the positive bias they perceived that teachers showed for Asian students. Interestingly, Asian students with high academic achievement (as measured by test scores) experienced peer victimization more frequently, whereas high academic achievement protects Latino and White youth from victimization (Peguero & Williams, 2013). Despite the significance of these findings, the small sample sizes in these studies preclude a representative distribution of the population, making it difficult to ascertain whether the findings are generalizable to this population. A supportive school environment can reduce the likelihood of bullying in school. Diversity in the classrooms (Felix & You, 2011; Juvonen, Nishina, & Graham, 2006), a racially and ethnically integrated student body (Bellmore, Nishina, You, & Ma, 2012), and perceived support from teachers (Benhorin & McMahon, 2008), are protective factors that can mitigate bullying and victimization of racial and ethnic minority students. Research suggests that racially/ethnically diverse classrooms and an integrated student body can facilitate students critical thinking skills by helping them to understand the multiple perspectives of a diverse student body, and to develop cross-ethnic friendships that reduce students negative attitudes towards members of other races and ethnicities (Juvonen et al., 2006). Greater racial and ethnic diversity
12 324 J. S. Hong et al. in the classroom can also reduce students feelings of victimization and vulnerability because of a greater balance of power among students of different racial and ethnic groups (Graham, 2006). Among Latino students in particular, racially and ethnically diverse classrooms seem correlated to feelings of safety, social satisfaction, and higher self-worth (Juvonen et al., 2006). These students were also less likely to experience peer harassment or feel excluded by their classmates and peers. A more recent study conducted by Shin, D Antonio, Son, Kim, and Park (2011), which included 295 Korean American adolescents from 73 high schools in New York and New Jersey, found similar results for Korean American students, and suggested that the higher the proportion of White students in schools, the greater the likelihood of peer victimization and discrimination. Although it appears that bullying victimization is high among Korean American students, it is difficult to estimate whether these youth experience higher level of bullying than other ethnic groups, considering a lack of ethnic group matched from the same community who are assessed using the same methods. Studies that compare different ethnic groups using equivalent definitions and methods of bullying are recommended to further define relevant experiences of bullying among Korean and other Asian American youth (Shin et al., 2011). As previously mentioned, research has found empirical support for the relevance of teacher student relationships and teacher support in students behavioral development in school. Positive teacher student relationships and teacher support are more closely associated with positive behavioral and school outcomes for racial and ethnic minority students than for White students (Burchinal, Peisner-Feinberg, Pianta, & Howes, 2002). The quality of teacher student relationships and teacher support can also influence or mitigate students likelihood of bullying involvement in school. Considering that teachers might promote bullying behavior by not promoting respectful interactions among students or by not intervening when victimization occurs, bullying appears to be more pervasive in schools without teacher support (Espelage & Holt, 2012). Choi and Cho s (2012) study, with a sample of 238 Korean Americans (Grades 3 12), found that students who receive adequate teacher support were more likely to display empathy towards bullying victims compared to those who did not receive adequate teacher support. Exhibiting empathy towards peers who experience bullying might decrease likelihood of engaging in bullying behavior. Despite this evidence, much is still unknown as to whether, and to what extent teacher support protects Latino and Asian students from bullying and victimization. Perhaps most importantly, schools must work to overcome multiple cultural challenges in ensuring a safe and productive educational environment for Latino and Asian youth. Establishing effective communication with parents of Latino and Asian students is a critical step in addressing students negative school experiences. However, research suggests that school administrators, faculty, and staff are less likely to contact Latino and Asian parents
13 Social Ecology of Bullying 325 due to language barriers (Olsen, 2008). Especially in the case of the many Latino and Asian students who are children of immigrant parents, finding practical and timely ways to address language barriers is the key. Similarly, many American teachers tend to view Latino and Asian parents as disengaged in the educational process due to relatively lower levels of parental involvement at school. Again, research suggests that this fails to acknowledge cultural differences in home-school relationships (Huntsinger & Jose, 2009; Turney & Kao, 2009). In other words, within some Latin American and Asian countries and cultural contexts, contacting schoolteachers and administrators is viewed as distrustful and potentially problematic (Huntsinger & Jose, 2009; Olsen, 2008). PEERS Peer conflicts among children and adolescents occur most frequently in schools, and conflicts are predominantly with close friends, classmates, or schoolmates (Opotow, 1991). However, given that schools are embedded in the community, youth residing in communities that are characterized as lacking resources (exosystem) are prone to bullying involvements (Khoury- Kassabri, Benbenishty, Astor, & Zeira, 2004), and these communities may reflect a larger social environment where bullying and violence occur (Espelage, Bosworth, & Simon, 2000). During adolescence, youth depend less on their family and more on their peers for social and emotional support. Peer interactions and socialization form an important context of adolescent development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). The quality of peer interactions impacts adolescent psychological well-being and school achievement (Juvonen, Nishina, & Graham, 2000). Considering that bullying is a peer group process (Salmivalli, 2009), peer relationships have been the focus of much research (Rodkin & Hodges, 2003). Broad theories addressing peer relationships include homophily hypothesis (formation of peer groups based on similarities; Cairns & Cairns, 1994); social dominance theory (use of aggression against weaker students to gain access to resources; Pellegrini, 2002); and social cognitive theory (modeling of friends behavior including aggressive behavior; Bandura, 2002). These theories attempt to explain the general peer context of school bullying and victimization, and have received much research attention (Espelage & Holt, 2012). Among Latino and Asian students, peer conflicts and negative peer influence appear to be a serious concern (Qin et al., 2008; Spriggs, Iannotti, Nansel, & Haynie, 2007). Negative peer influence was found to be positively associated with bullying perpetration and negatively associated with victimization among Latino and Asian students. Mouttapa et al. (2004), for instance, using a sample of 1,368 Latino and Asian sixth-grade students in Southern California, found that when friends participated in bullying behavior, the responding student had an increased likelihood of bullying perpetration or
14 326 J. S. Hong et al. bullying victimization, with a decreased likelihood of victimization only for both the respondents and their friends. However, this study included only those students who attended schools meeting all of the inclusion criteria, and the findings might not generalize to youth attending schools with different ethnic compositions. The results may or may not generalize to areas outside of Southern California. Moreover, the findings are based on adolescents self-reports, which might have yielded biased results. As noted by Pakaslahti and Keltikangas-Jarvinen (2000), self-reports tend to yield lower rates of bullying and victimization than peer reports. In contrast to the Mouttapa et al. (2004) study, other studies have found that close friendships, peer acceptance, and prosocial behavior from peers can serve as protective mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of students involvement in bullying situations (Schmidt & Bagwell, 2007) and buffer the negative effects of victimization, such as loneliness (Storch, Nock, Masia-Warner, & Barlas, 2003). Despite the vast empirical and theoretical support, no researchers have investigated peerlevel protective factors that mitigate the likelihood of bullying or buffer the effects of bullying and victimization among Latino and Asian youth. FAMILY ENVIRONMENT Poverty and adverse economic conditions in the community environment produce daily and chronic stress in the family environment, which can lead to parental psychological distress and negatively affect family relationships (Brody et al., 1994; Conger, Ge, Elder, Lorenz, & Simmons, 1994). The earliest and most longstanding relationships formed by youth occur in the family environment. Family environment contexts include family processes, parent child relationships, child-rearing practices, and varying responses to stress (Padilla, 2002). However, considering the struggles of power, discrimination, and social position, the family context for Latino and Asian youth may differ considerably than those of White youth (Harrison, Wilson, Pine, Chan, & Buriel, 1990). Still, family environment and relationships in the home have been found to be major predictors of adolescent mental health and social adjustment (Smetana, Campione-Barr, & Daddis, 2004). Students family environment can foster the impact of negative peer relationships and bullying involvement through various mechanisms (Hong & Espelage, 2012). In general, children exposed to negative interpersonal relationships in the home are at a heightened risk of bullying and peer victimization in school (Duncan, 2004; Espelage et al., in press; Spriggs et al., 2007). A limited number of researchers have identified family-level protective factors that potentially mitigate bullying and victimization, including parent child communication and parent-child bonding (Maffini, Wong, & Shin, 2011; Spriggs et al., 2007). Further, a study by Spriggs et al. (2007), which included a nationally representative sample of racially and ethnically diverse adolescents in Grades 6 to 10, reported that White, Black, and Latino students were
15 Social Ecology of Bullying 327 less likely to exhibit bullying behaviors when family members engaged in high levels of positive communication. Interestingly, however, living with two biological parents was a protective factor for White youth, but not for Latino youth. For Asian adolescents, parent child bonds appeared to buffer the negative impact of bullying (Maffini et al., 2011). This study used a nationally representative sample, and found that emotional bonds with fathers and instrumental bonds with mothers weakened the association between peer victimization and somatic symptoms among Asian youth. Although recent bullying research has begun to explore family-level protective factors for Latino and Asian students, few studies have explicitly addressed how immigration and generational status impact Latino and Asian families in relation to bullying and victimization. For example, parentification, in which the children of immigrants assume parental responsibilities because of their fluency in English and knowledge of the host culture, may increase family stress, leading to parent youth conflicts (Qin et al., 2008) or youth behavioral problems (Huang & Ying, 1998). Moreover, lack of parental supervision and guidance for children and adolescents has been implicated in behavioral problems, delinquency, and gang involvement of Asian adolescents (Hong, 2010). Notwithstanding the significance of family environment and support for immigrant youth, researchers have virtually ignored the differential impact of family environment on bullying involvement for Latino and Asian youth in comparison to nonimmigrant youth. Additional research needs to empirically investigate these and other challenges faced by immigrant families, in an effort to better understand the impact of these issues on bullying and victimization of these youth in school. Ontogenetic Level Much of the research on bullying and peer victimization has focused on the sociodemographic factors associated with bullying and peer victimization. Researchers are understandably interested in why an individual engages in bullying and/or might be victimized by their peers. An individual youth is a biological system unto itself, and development occurs when one genetic, biological, and hereditary factor ultimately become the system that interrelates with all other system levels. Identifying ontogenetic level factors, such as gender and race/ethnicity can provide new insights on Latino and Asian students peer relationships in school. Researchers have long argued for the incorporation of social demography in child development-related research, because it is essential for understanding peer relationships of racial/ethnic minority students (Garcia Coll et al., 1996; Padilla, 2002). Gender has been identified as a correlate in research on bullying and victimization. In general, past findings have indicated that males are more commonly victimized by and perpetrators of direct forms of bullying, whereas females are more likely to experience indirect bullying (e.g.,
16 328 J. S. Hong et al. relational aggression; Hong & Espelage, 2012). However, a limited number of studies (Koo, Peguero, & Shekarkhar, 2012; Peguero et al., 2011) found that Latino and Asian female students were at a heightened risk of direct or overt forms of violent victimization in school. For instance, Koo et al. (2012) explored several individual-level correlates of school violence for Latino and Asian students. These data were drawn from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, which included 5,040 female and 4,830 male students, and asked students if they were exposed to various forms of victimization at school. Findings suggested that first- and second-generation Asian females had a higher likelihood of being directly victimized by their peers compared to White females and Asian males (Koo et al., 2012). Findings indicate that Latino and Asian females are at risk of direct forms of victimization in school, which differs from research with predominately White samples that show that females report indirect forms of victimization. However, researchers have not explored why Latino and Asian females are at higher risk of victimization than their male counterparts. Thus, studies specifically involving Asian and Latino youths will help researchers to understand these gender differences. DISCUSSION Researchers have made strides in enhancing the understanding of factors that are associated with bullying and victimization among Latino and Asian youth in the United States. Findings from the studies reviewed in this article indicate that bullying and victimization are serious concerns for Latino and Asian youth in American schools, and understanding the associated factors necessitates an examination of the influences beyond the individual (ontogenetic) levels. In particular, researchers should consider broader-level contexts (e.g., immigration, poverty), which can affect the community environment (exosystem); community environment, in turn, can have a profound impact on the immediate, microsystem contexts (family, peer, and school). Despite the advances made, studies have not thoroughly examined many relevant antecedents of bullying and victimization among these particular racial/ethnic groups, such as culturally defined parenting practices of immigrant parents that may reinforce or inhibit bullying victimization in school. Among Asian youth, for instance, a limited number of empirical studies have documented that higher academic achievement was a significant predictor of bullying victimization (Liang et al., 2007). Considering that Asian youth s academic achievements are consistently linked with parents educational expectations (Lew, 2006), it is essential that researchers examine how parental expectations might be associated with their children s involvement in bullying and victimization.
17 Social Ecology of Bullying 329 As previously mentioned, many existing research studies on bullying and peer victimization among Latino and Asian youth have not considered the cultural differences among particular ethnic subgroups. Likewise, many of the studies reviewed in this article did not consider that the category Hispanic or Latino is an ethnicity rather than a race. Latino and Asian are panethnic terms, and it is important that researchers consider the sociocultural diversity among Latino and Asian self-identified individuals. For example, the term Latino encompasses 28 different nationalities (e.g., Mexican; U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Similarly, the term Asian includes 32 different nationalities and ethnic groups (e.g., Chinese; Austin et al., 1989). Categorizing Latinos and Asians as one racial group can overlook the diverse cultures of origins as well as diverse cultural contexts (e.g., individuals in various subregions of the United States), which might be relevant to bullying and victimization. Researchers might consider identifying risk and protective factors for bullying and peer victimization and examining the ethnic differences within Latino and Asian subgroups in the United States. Despite the differences between Latinos and Asians, as well as those within each sociocultural group, as minorities U.S. Latinos and Asians have important similarities because both groups have significant immigrant populations. Nearly three-fourths of Asians and more than one-third of Latinos in the United States are foreign born (Immigration Policy Center, 2012; Pew Research Center, 2012). Partly due to such demographics but also due to long-standing discrimination against minorities in the United States, Asians and Latinos face the challenge of being stereotyped as perpetual foreigners and are frequently questioned of their status as real Americans (Aoki & Takeda, 2008; Chou & Feagin, 2008; Masuoka, 2006). This is in contrast to African Americans who, despite facing harsh discrimination from mainstream society, are mostly native born and rarely questioned of their status as Americans. Furthermore, sociocultural categories such as Asian and Latino/Hispanic are imposed identities by the dominant society on culturally diverse ethnic groups. Studies show that the majority of Asians and Latinos tend to identify with ethnic or family-country-of-origin group than with the imposed pan-ethnic categorization (Masuoka, 2006; McClain, Johnson Carew, Walton, & Watts, 2009). Given that bullying is frequently based on group status and that mainstream stereotypes of Asians and Latinos underlie bullying problems of Asian and Latino children, we decided to investigate both sociocultural groups in this article to shed light on larger societal and systematic factors that influence bullying and peer victimization. Relatively few studies have examined bullying experiences of particular Latino and Asian ethnic subgroups (Shin et al., 2011). Additional research, which investigates bullying and victimization among ethnic subgroups, is needed. Researchers examining the experiences of bullying and victimization among Latino and Asian youth should also consider investigating intraethnic bullying, which is prevalent among ethnic minorities (Pyke & Dang, 2003).
18 330 J. S. Hong et al. The Pyke and Dang (2003) study has shown, for example, that Asian immigrant youths might be predisposed to social exclusion by their Asian peers who are assimilated. In a qualitative investigation, the authors found that for a sample of Korean and Vietnamese teenagers, derogatory labels, such as white-washed and FOB [fresh-off-the-boat] were associated with intraethnic bullying behaviors and social exclusion. Researchers have examined the experiences of intraracial bullying and victimization among Black youth, particularly high-achieving youth who are victimized and socially excluded by their peers as acting White and selling out (Spencer, Noll, Stoltzfus, & Harpalani, 2001). In contrast, there has been no research, to date, on the experiences of intraracial and intraethnic bullying among Latino and Asian youth population. Finally, another study limitation includes a lack of consideration to ethnic density of school districts and its possible relationship with bullying and peer victimization. To illustrate, one may have a racially and ethnically diverse school (i.e., high diversity) but still have only one other Asian student (low density). One might hypothesize different bullying experiences for the Asian students in such a school versus one where there is a higher density of Asian students. Future research on bullying and peer victimization among Latino and Asian youth might consider potentially significant variables, such as ethnic density of schools. Nevertheless, bullying and victimization occurring in American schools are top public health concerns because of the detrimental effects it has on youth physical health, emotional well-being, and educational progress (e.g., Klomek, Sourander, & Gould, 2010). Without a doubt, providing a healthy learning environment for all youth is an essential step towards facilitating a democratic society and ensuring the educational success of future generations in a competitive global market. The recent and growing attention to violence and bullying in schools is consistent with this national concern for America s economic competitiveness. Consequently, an increasing number of schools in the United States have adopted antiviolence and antibullying programs; however, according to a recent study by Smith, Ryan, and Cousins (2007), there has been little evidence of programs effectiveness, particularly when ethnic diversity of the student population is considered. To illustrate, an evaluation of the widely used Olweus Bullying Prevention Program found that the program was effective in reducing bullying involvement only for White students and not for ethnic minority students (Bauer, Lozano, & Rivara, 2007). Likewise, because the residents in many low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately racial and ethnic minorities and immigrants, measures utilized in bullying may not be as culturally relevant to immigrants (Hong, 2009). As a consequence, current approaches to understanding school bullying might not address the unique risk and protective factors, or the personal experiences of Latino and Asian youth (Peguero, 2012b). Our review suggests that that the school experiences of Latino and Asian youth are complex
19 Social Ecology of Bullying 331 and distinctive, and indeed may vary greatly from those of their White and Black peers. These different experiences likely require specialized interventions and approaches that consider the cultural contexts of Latino and Asian subgroups. Given this complexity, our review drew from a theoretical framework that mirrors this complexity the ecological theory of child/human development. This theoretical framework posits that individual behaviors are shaped by a range of nested contextual systems, including family, friends, school, work, community, and social environments (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Rather than focusing solely on individual attributes that might place students at-risk for engaging in bullying or being targets of bullying, the social ecological framework considers how individual behaviors are influenced by societal norms, perceptions, and history as well as community, school, peer, and family environments, all of which unduly influences the developing individuals. For instance, a number of recent findings suggest that Latino and Asian females are at risk for direct forms of bullying more so than White females or their Asian male counterparts (Koo et al., 2012). Likewise, Latino and Asian males involved in sports were at increased risk of victimization compared to white males (Peguero & Popp, 2012; Peguero, Popp, & Koo, 2011). An application of the ecological framework using multilevel modeling (e.g., hierarchical linear modeling) would allow researchers to explore factors at various systems levels, which could explicate why certain gender and ethnic groups are particularly prone to bullying and victimization. Moreover, strengthening community-level components, such as meetings with local community leaders through youth-related activities in minority communities may be integral parts of school administrators efforts to ameliorate bullying (Peguero, 2012b). Finally, Latino and Asian youth might be fearful of reporting problems, such as violence and victimization, to authorities for fear of deportation (Chaudry et al., 2010; Yoshikawa, 2011). Regardless of residency status, the threat of deportation looms over interactions with authorities, even with school authorities. Therefore, generalized approaches toward bullying that do not recognize this unique concern for Latino and Asian families might contribute to the vulnerability of these students. Conclusion The growing body of research on school violence in the United States suggests that much is known in general, about the social processes, harmful experiences, and potential approaches to address bullying in schools. Yet, we argue that this knowledge is insufficient to understand and address bullying among Latino and Asian youth, whose experiences are embedded in complex ontogenetic, family, peer, school, community, and immigration contexts. While we have examined an emerging literature highlighting some of
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