Racially-focused peer victimization: Prevalence, psychosocial impacts, and the influence of coping strategies

Julian J. Mendez, Sheri Bauman, Michael L. Sulkowski, Stan Davis, Charisse Nixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Objective: The current study is the first to our knowledge to examine the prevalence, psychosocial impacts, and influence of coping strategies students employ when responding to racially focused peer victimization. Method: An online survey was administered as part of the Youth Voice Project to 13,177 students at their schools in 5 areas of the United States. The 3,305 participants (grades 5 through 12) who reported being victimized twice per month or more were included in the sample. Results: Twelve percent of participants reported being targeted with a focus on race. Those who were victimized with a focus on race were 1.4 times more likely to report a severe emotional impact from the experience. When responding to racially focused peer victimization, utilizing specific coping strategies (i.e., planned to hit or fight them, told the person to stop, told an adult at school, and told an adult at home) were positively correlated with the severity of emotional impact. Conclusion: Our findings have important implications for prevention and intervention program development, which must highlight the particular damage caused by race-based peer victimization. A stronger focus on how teachers respond when they are aware of peer victimization is critical for the development of effective training programs for educators given that telling an adult was not helpful in the eyes of most youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology


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