The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Influential Factors On Bullying Among Korean Female Adolescents: A Mediation Model

Friday, January 17, 2014
HBG Convention Center, Bridge Hall Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Yi Jin Kim, MSW, Doctoral Candidate, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Jun Kyung Kim, PhD, Associate Professor, NamSeoul University, Cheonan, South Korea
Jang Hyun Lee, PhD, Associate Professor, Pyeongtaek University, Pyongtaek-Si, South Korea
Purpose: Bullying among adolescents has been a significant social issue in Korea. Traditionally, bullying has been regarded as a phenomenon that is mostly committed by male. However, bullying involvement among female adolescents is increasing significantly, and those who bully are becoming more violent in Korea. According to the Korea National Statistical Office (2007), the percentage (33.4%) of female adolescents involved in bullying exceeded the percentage of male adolescents’ (24.1%). A number of previous studies on bullying among adolescents included both male and female adolescent in their target populations (Lee & Song, 2012). However, few studies have been conducted with female only populations, although gender differences in characteristics of bullying were often reported (Farrow & Fox, 2011). Also, the previous studies did not include stress as an influential factor for adolescents’ involvement in bullying (Bowes et al., 2009). Thus, the current study aims to include aggression and stresses found within multiple contextual levels such as family, friends, study, and school as possible predictors of bullying involvement among Korean female adolescents.

Methods: Female students in grades 7th through 9th (N = 346) from five middle schools in Pyeongtaek, Korea were recruited. Of these students, participants included 290 students, ranging in age 14 to 17 years (M = 15.73), who had received parental consent and who themselves agreed to participate. A question related to previous experience of bullying involvement was used to measure bullying involvement which is an outcome variable in this study. Stress, a predictor of bullying involvement, was assessed using the Daily Has Questionnaire–Korean Version (DHQ-K) consisting of four sub-categories of stress: stress from family; friends; study; and school. Aggression, another predictor of bullying involvement, was measured using the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory–Korean Version. Data analyses included descriptive statistics, logistic regression, and mediation testing outlined by Preacher, Fucker, and Hayes (2007).

Results: The findings of hierarchical logistic regression analysis suggest that family stress and aggression were significant predictors of bullying involvement among Korean female adolescents. In addition, aggression fully mediated the relation between stressors (family and school stress) and bullying involvement, as the latter was no longer a significant predictors of bullying involvement once aggression was included in the model.

Implications: The findings of this study support the importance of interventions that social work practitioners who are working with adolescents involved in bullying need to facilitate stress management programs, especially to help them deal with stress from family members and school. Also, school authorities should pay special attention to adolescents who have a high propensity for aggression in order to help prevent school bullying.