Bullying and psychological distress in a vulnerable group: youths in residential childcare
Maldonado Lozano, Manuel Jesús
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Objectives: Previous research has shown that children and youths in residential childcare are exposed to different aggressive behaviors, including peer violence. However, research that has analyzed prevalence of bullying and its relation with psychological distress in this vulnerable group is scarce. Our study was designed to extend previous research, help explain the role of the residential childcare context in bullying behaviors, and explore the relation of bullying with psychological distress among youths in residential childcare in Spain. Method: Fifty-six youths living in residential childcare facilities and 1481 living consistently with at least one biological parent participated. Their age range was 10-15 years. The Bullyharm scale was used to measure bullying. Psychological distress was measured by the Kessler Scale (K10). Results: Youths living in residential childcare reported higher levels of victimization and perpetration than their peers living with their biological parents. The regressions analyses revealed that living in residential childcare facilities positively correlated with psychological distress and perpetration. Conclusions: The residential childcare context is important for understanding individual differences in bullying participation and psychological distress. Future research should continue examining the factors related to bullying in this vulnerable group.