Research That Matters (January 17 - 20, 2008)

Regency Ballroom Wings (Omni Shoreham)

The Impact of School Violence on Depression: Moderating Effect of Family Factors

Jae Y. KIm, PhD, Yonsei University and Yun K. Chung, MSW, Yonsei University.

Purpose: As the school violence is becoming a serious societal problem, the voices of concerns are heightening in South Korea. The Foundation of Youth Violence Prevention recently announced that 17.8% of elementary school students, 16.8% of middle school student, and 8% of high school students were victimized by the school violence in the previous year (JIKIM, 2006). This translates to one out of every six elementary and middle school students experienced the school violence. Claims in researches presented the school violence as a cause of the adolescent depression is related to the many behavioral problems. Furthermore, the adolescent depression is a good predictive variable of the adulthood depression. There are three types of protective factors that can mitigate the negative influences of the school violence on the depression: individual, family, and school factors. However, South Korea still lacks studies in the role of protective factors for the negative effects of school violence on the depression. In response, this study examines family factors to moderate effects of the school violence on the depression, specifically concentrating on the following factors: family coherence, family resources, and family communication.

Method: Subjects were third grade in middle school and first grade in high school students residing in Seoul. To select a sample, following the simple random sampling of non-probability sampling method, we divided Seoul into four areas and selected one school in each area. The data was collected from April to May in 2006 and the survey was self-administrated by the students. Analyses were conducted using the sample of 582 students (312 male and 270 female students).

Result: Out of total 582 students in the research group, 34.9% experienced violence in the previous year where the boys (49%) were subject to more school violence than the girls (18.5%). The pattern of victimization shows significantly more occurrences of overt aggressions such as physical aggression and extortion in the boys, whereas relational aggressions such as bullying occur more often in girls. The victimization from school violence was proven to be significantly influential to adolescent depression, which was also proven to be influenced by academic grades and family income level. The interactions between school violence and family factors (family coherence, family resources and family communication) were not significant. So the findings of this study did not support that those factors have moderating effect on the adolescent depression, but strong negative relationship was still found between the family factors and the adolescent depression significantly.

Conclusions and Implications: In terms of adolescents' psychological health, family factors have positive effect. However, school violence experience is too stressful to be effected by family factors significantly. And in our family culture, communication and emotional support don't come natural, so it may be thought that the family has difficulty to have opportunity to intervene. As protective approaches in family, cultivating sensitiveness toward school violence's danger and symptoms of victims is essential. For adolescents who have little network resources, some program to extend their human resources should be given such as mentoring program.