Primary socialization theory and bullying: the effects of primary sources of socialization on bullying behaviors among adolescents Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Dulli, Lisa S.
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior
  • Introduction: Adolescent bullying has become increasingly recognized as a public health concern. Adolescents involved in bullying, as perpetrator or victim, have been shown to experience poorer physical and psychosocial health than those who are not involved. Adolescents who bully others are also more likely than those who do not to engage in more serious delinquent behaviors later. Most research on the topic has focused on the psychosocial characteristics of perpetrators and victims. Few studies have examined factors that contribute to the development of such behavior. With this study, I sought to apply the framework of Primary Socialization Theory (PST) to examine family, peer and school influences on the development of adolescent bullying behavior. Methods: Panel study data on 3,583 6th and 7th graders from 13 schools in 3 counties in North Carolina were used to examine the relationships between family, peer and school variables and adolescent bullying. Baseline data were collected in the Spring of 2002, and outcome data were collected one year later. Logistic regression models were used to test both mediational and moderation hypotheses regarding the relationships between social factors identified by PST. Additionally, multinomial logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between gender and type of bullying behaviors, as mediated by family bonds and normative environment. Results: Bullying prevalence was estimated at 58%. Family, peer and school normative environments were statistically significant predictors of bullying initiation; however strength of bonds to each of these three were not, nor did strength of bonds moderate the relationships between any of the three respective normative environments and bullying, as hypothesized. Age, ethnicity, gender and parental education were not significantly associated with onset of bullying. Gender was also not found to be a significant predictor of type of bullying. Conclusions: This study provided no evidence in support of the relationships proposed by PST. Results suggest that further refinement and testing of this relatively new theory is in order. Additionally, more research into the underlying factors that contribute to the development of bullying behaviors is needed in order to identify potential strategies for the prevention of this behavior and its consequences.
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  • Foshee, Vangie
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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