Examination of Latinx Bullying Victimization and Depressive Symptoms through a Social-Ecological Framework
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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EmbargoRelease after 01/10/2021
AbstractBACKGROUND: Bullying victimization is correlated with depressive symptoms in adolescents. While the literature is extensive, there has been little focus on racial/ethnic minorities, specifically Latinx youth. In the United States, there is some evidence that Latinx adolescents experience bullying victimization and depressive symptoms at higher rates than their non-Hispanic white (NHW) peers. OBJECTIVES: This dissertation is composed of three studies that work together to identify factors of influence in the development of depressive symptoms within Latinx adolescents that experience peer violence: 1) a synthesis of the bullying/depression literature to evaluate Latinx representation and Latinx-specific factors; 2) identification of the interaction between racial/ethnic discrimination and bullying victimization on depressive symptoms; and 3) examination of the role of family and social support as a protective factor in the relationship between bullying victimization and depressive symptoms three years after victimization. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted for research aim one following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. For research aims two and three, secondary data analysis was conducted utilizing the Healthy Passages national and longitudinal dataset with permission from the publication committee. Hierarchal regression analyses were conducted for research aims two and three. RESULTS: For research aim one, of 957 studies identified, 17 included a Latinx population of 25% or more. They all identified a relationship between bullying and depression, with nine examining factors related to race/ethnicity or unique to the Latinx population. For aims two and three, a sample of 1,666 Latinx adolescents (grade 7) reported bullying victimization rates of 60% within the previous year. For aim two specifically, 15.7% reported racial/ethnic discrimination and 14.4% reported bullying and discrimination victimization in the previous year. All forms of victimization were found to be significantly related to depressive symptoms, including the interaction between bullying and discrimination victimization (p<.001 for immediate effect, p<.05 three years later). For research aim three, parent/child connectedness had a moderation effect (p<.001, b=-.061; p=.011, b=.006), reducing the likelihood of depressive symptoms three years after victimization. Social support reduced the relationship to depressive symptoms (p<.001, b=.025) but was not a moderator, and global parental monitoring had no significant effect. CONCLUSIONS: The Latinx community is the fastest growing racial/ethnic minority population in the United States, but they are underrepresented in the bullying literature. Studies that included variables unique to Latinx communities such as acculturation and unique family factors found a stronger relationship between bullying victimization and depression. In a Latinx sample, this dissertation identified an increased likelihood of depressive symptoms when bullying and racial/ethnic discrimination were experienced. Additionally, this work found that strong family relationships and strong social support reduced the likelihood of depressive symptoms of bullying victimization even three years after victimization occurred. These two findings identify potential future directions for bullying research and practice. At a minimum, they illustrate a need for an expanded social-ecological lens when measuring victimization as well as the inclusion of family and the development of strong family relationships in bullying interventions.
Degree ProgramGraduate College