Method: Data were collected between August 2013 and January 2014, and the participants comprised 639 African American adolescents from low-resourced neighborhoods in Chicago’s Southside. Of the 639 adolescents, 45.5% were males and 54.2% females, and 74.6% received government assistance. Measures for the study included bullying victimization, parental closeness, teacher’s care, religiosity, positive future orientation, and internalizing symptoms. Cross-sectional research design and self-reported surveys were used. Analyses included descriptive statistics and a series of multivariate regression analyses using SPSS v. 24. Moderators were examined with the PROCESS analysis using pick-a-point and Johnson-Neyman techniques.
Results: Supporting our proposed hypothesis, our findings indicated that bullying victimization was positively related to internalizing symptoms (B=.407, p<.00). Parental closeness (B=-.098, p<.05), teacher’s care (B=-.117, p<.01), and positive future orientation (B=-.163, p<.05) were negatively related to internalizing symptoms. For the moderators, our findings also were consistent with our proposed hypothesis. That is parental closeness (B=-.032, p<.05) and teacher’s care (B=-.013, p<.01) buffered the association between bullying victimization and internalizing symptoms.
Implications: Findings from our study suggest that fostering resiliency in urban and low-resourced African American adolescents is paramount. Understanding not only risk factors but also the protective factors can inform prevention and intervention strategies for urban adolescents. For example, efforts to increase adult care and support, as well as increase hope and self-worth may be important aspects of prevention and intervention programs for urban adolescents. Practitioners need to carefully assess mechanisms by which bullying victimization impacts internalizing symptoms. In addition, because urban adolescents are likely to attend schools that are low-resourced and understaffed, practitioners need to consider utilizing evidence-based intervention and prevention programs that are cost-effective and short-term. Practitioners might consider programs, such as socio-emotional learning and solution-focused brief therapy have shown to be effective in reducing emotional and behavioral problems in racially and socioeconomically diverse adolescents.