(Solved): Why might perceptions of bullyinh vary depending on geogaphic location?

Why might perceptions of bullyinh vary depending on geogaphic location?

Expert Answer

Ecological Theory organizes the environment in terms of micro-, meso-, macro-, and chronosystems. In the current study, the micro- and macrosystems are particularly salient. The microsystem refers to an individual’s immediate environment; for adolescents, the microsystem often consists of family, peer group, and school. Interactions across these microsystems (i.e., proximal processes) influence one another reciprocally. This suggests that an adolescent’s bullying victimization and school hassles are likely impacted by other proximal processes in the microsystem (i.e., family, peer group, and school). An ecological framework underscores the need to consider the overarching macrosystem, which refers to the social beliefs and norms of a given environment. In the current study, the macrosystem is the rural environment.

Little research has been conducted on health-related risk and protective factors for youth in rural settings especially regarding the correlates of bullying. The bullying research base has been dominantly devoted to urban youth. There is a common misperception that rural living is “tranquil” and “peaceful”, when in reality, rural life has many complications (e.g., geographic isolation, minimal community resources, and lack of public transportation) absent in urban environments. Rural youth are significantly more likely than urban and suburban youth to smoke, drink alcohol, use drugs, bring a weapon to school, and have sexual intercourse. And one study found that rural youth had significantly more externalizing and internalizing behaviors than urban youth. These additional stressors and risk factors may impact the school and bullying experiences of rural youth.

The overarching research question for the current study was what demographic, psychological, social, and school factors are associated with bullying victimization and experiencing school hassles. Based on ecological theory we hypothesized the following.

  • Proximal microsystem influences (i.e., social support and school satisfaction) will be inversely associated with bullying and school hassles.
  • Distal microsystem influences (i.e., school characteristics) will have less impact on bullying and school hassles than the proximal microsystem influences; however, these school characteristics will form cross-level interactions with individual characteristics.
  • Student psychological factors (i.e., depression, anxiety, and aggression) will be positively associated with bullying and school hassles, while self-esteem will be inversely associated with bullying and school hassles.
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