This study examines the relationships between ethnicity, peer-reported bullying and victimization, and whether these relationships were moderated by the ethnic composition of the school classes.
The article aims to test hypothesis such as;
- Native Dutch adolescents would be more victimized in classes with high proportions of ethnic minority pupils, and that ethnic minority adolescents would be more victimized in classes with low proportions of ethnic minorities.
- The ethnic proportions of school classes to affect frequency of bullying behaviors among ethnic majority and minority students.
- Boys to bully and be victimized more than girls.
Participants were 2386 adolescents (mean age: 13 years and 10 months; 51.9% boys) from 117 school classes in the Netherlands. Data collection took place in the classrooms during one regular school lesson with questionnaires.
The study shows that in today’s societies with increasing numbers of ethnic minorities it is important to be aware of the roles of the students’ ethnicity and the ethnic composition of the school classes when studying peer bullying and victimization. An important implication of research findings is that schools should be aware that ethnicity can play a role in bullying and victimization. In addition to that research suggests that bringing ethnic minorities and ethnic majority group members together in one school class does not automatically lead to positive interethnic contacts. As it proved that victimization was more prevalent in more ethnically heterogeneous school classes and ethnic minorities displayed more bullying behaviors in these classes, it may be important to undertake efforts to diminish perceived status differences and disparities among ethnic groups. Moreover, one should find ways to increase opportunities for positive social interactions between members of the ethnic majority and minority groups and intergroup friendships.