Academic achievement helps children in out-of-home care achieve early independent living. However, the academic achievement of children in out-of-home care is generally lower than that of general children. In addition, children in out-of-home care are not protected in their origin homes, they often experience stigma and bullying victimization in peer relationships. Many studies have pointed out that bullying leads to learning difficulties.
However, prior studies have insufficient accumulation of empirical research on protective factors that counteract the negative effects of bullying. Social capital is a benefit that arises from social relationships, so children in out-of-home care can be positively influenced by social capital. This study aimed to examine whether social capital buffered the relationship between bullying victimization and academic achievement.
This study analyzed data from the 2012 Panel Study on Korean Children in Out-of-Home Care(PSKCOC). This study used data from 460 children living in out-of-home services, including 125 children in institutional care, 102 children in group homes, and 233 foster care. This study included institutional care, and group homes as facility types, and analyzed them by foster care types and facility types.
Data were analyzed using multiple regression analysis and the pick-a-point approach.
bullying victimization was measured by the number of bullying experience in the past year. Academic achievement was measured in Korean, mathematics, and English. And Social capital factors consisted of attachment to biological parents, primary caregiver monitoring, substitute caregiver attachment, Positive friendships, social support.
About 53.7% of children reported experiences of bullying during one year. The hierarchical regression analysis showed that attachment to biological parents had a significant moderating effect on the association between bullying victimization and academic achievement. This interaction effect showed the conditional effect of the three groups of attachment to biological parents through the pick-a-point method. As a result of the analysis, the group with the low level of attachment to biological parent showed a sharp decrease in the academic achievement. But Primary caregiver monitoring, substitute caregiver attachment, positive friendship, or social support did not moderate the relationship.
Interestingly, when the model was tested by the type of care (facility care vs. foster care), the moderating effect of attachment to biological parents remained significant and primary caregiver monitoring also significantly moderated the relationship among children in facility type.
Conclusions and Implications
This study suggests that it is important to improve the relationship between children in out-of-home care and parents. Therefore, it is necessary to expand and obligate Parent-child exchange program through legal mandatory regulations.
In addition, it is need to activate support for the foster care system. This study showed a moderating effect of social capital on facility type, while only one variable did not show a moderating effect on foster care types. As a result, it can be seen that foster care children are vulnerable to recovery from bullying. So, it is necessary to strengthen the foster care system by increasing the budget, expanding manpower, and improving access to foster care support centers.