Abstract: The impacts of school violence on self-esteem and depression in a Chinese society (Taiwan) (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

12534 The impacts of school violence on self-esteem and depression in a Chinese society (Taiwan)

Saturday, January 16, 2010: 10:30 AM
Garden Room A (Hyatt Regency)
* noted as presenting author
Ji-Kang Chen, PhD , Chinese University of Hong Kong, Assistant Professor, Hong Kong SAR, China
Hsi-sheng Wei, PhD , National Taipei University, Assistant Professor, San Shia, Taipei County, Taiwan
Purpose: Research studies on outcomes of school violence have been majorly conducted in North America and European countries. However, empirical evidence on how school violence affects students' psychological well-being in Chinese culture contexts remains limited. Furthermore, there is a paucity of empirical evidence that investigates how gender, family socio-economic status (FSES), and school social dynamics moderate the association between school violence and psychological well-beings. Using a large-scale data from Taiwan, this study expands the literature on school violence by exploring how school violence impacts on students' depression and self-esteem in a Chinese culture. This inquiry will also examine if gender, family SES, peer support and student-teacher relations buffer the impacts of school violence in a Chinese culture context.

Method: The data used in this study were based on a large-scale project of “Adolescent survey in Taiwan” (Wei, Chang and Chen, 2006). This sample was designed to represent all students from junior high to high schools (Grades 7 to 12) in City of Taichung in Taiwan. Students were given a structured and anonymous questionnaire. The response rate of students was over 98 percent. The probability sampling method was a two-stage stratified cluster sample. The questionnaire included over 150 items regarding students' basic demographic backgrounds as well as personal, family, and school experiences.

Results: The results of the Structural Equation Modeling (using AMOS) analysis based on the total sample provided a good fit to the data with Chi square(df=120, n=2,764)= 1220.49, p=0.000, and with NFI= .94, IFI= .95, CFI=.95, and RMSEA= .05. The overall model explained 1% of variance in self-esteem (R square=.01) and 11% (R square=.11) in depression. Student victimization by students and student perpetration against students had impacts to students' depression (beta=.11, p<0.01 and beta=.19, p<0.01, respectively) but had non-significant links to students' self-esteem (beta=.01, p>0.05 and beta=.02, p>0.05, respectively). Surprisingly, student victimization by teachers had neither associated with students' depression (beta=.01, p>0.05) nor self-esteem (beta=.00, p>0.05). However, family SES and peer group could moderate the associations between student victimization by students and depression as well as between student perpetration against students and depression. That is, the impacts of student victimization and perpetration on depression are stronger to students from low family SES than those from high family SES. The impacts of both student victimization and perpetration on depression are stronger to students who have low level of peer support. Gender and quality of student-teacher relations had no moderation effect on any paths in this mode.

Conclusion and Implication: The findings implicate school violence had significant impact on student depression but not on self-esteem. Family SES and peer support could moderate the relation between school violence perpetration and victimization, and depression. It has important implication for prevention/intervention efforts on how school violence impacts on depression in Chinese societies. In addition, enhancing the family SES and students' peer support may buffer the relations between school violence and students' psychological well-beings in Chinese societies.