Contribution of School and Family Factors to Racial Disparities in Bullying Involvement

Sabina Low, Lin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Limited research attention has been devoted to disparate vulnerabilities to social-ecological risk factors and how these may explain group differences in bullying by race. To address this gap, the present study used data of early adolescent respondents (Mage = 11.2 years) from 36 public middle schools (N = 2701) to assess the nexus of race, social-ecological risk factors, and bullying perpetration. Multilevel modeling was employed to quantify the racial gap in bullying as well as the race-specific effects of social-ecological risk factors. Data revealed that Black students engaged in the highest levels of bullying perpetration, relative to all other racial/ethnic subgroups. School belonging exerted an amplified protective effect on Black and Hispanic youth, relative to White youth, and diminished the Black-White bullying perpetration gap. The link between exposure to family conflict and bullying perpetration was also race-specific. Findings yielded significant implications for bullying intervention and prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1016-1042
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Early Adolescence
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • bullying
  • exposure to family violence
  • racial group differences
  • school climate
  • the ecological perspective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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