Youth experiences with multiple types of prejudice-based harassment

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Despite prejudice-based harassment's associations with serious physical and mental health risks, research examining multiple forms of harassment among children/adolescents is lacking. This study documents the prevalence of prejudice-based harassment (i.e., harassment on the basis of gender, race/ethnicity, weight or physical appearance, sexual orientation, and disability status) among a large, statewide, school-based Midwestern U.S. sample of 162,034 adolescents. Weight-/appearance-based harassment was most prevalent among both girls (25.3%) and boys (19.8%). Adolescents from certain vulnerable groups experienced higher rates of multiple types of harassment, even when controlling for other sociodemographic characteristics. Prejudice-based harassment experiences are prevalent among adolescent girls and boys. Differential rates of each type of harassment are reported across groups within the corresponding sociodemographic status (e.g., white female adolescents report a significantly lower rate of race-based harassment (4.8%), as compared to Native American (18.6%), mixed/other race (18.9%), Hispanic/Latina (21.5%), Asian/Pacific Islander (24.2%), or Black/African American (24.8%) female adolescents); but a pattern of cross-harassment also is evident, such that differences in prevalence of each harassment type emerge across a variety of statuses (e.g., disability-based harassment was statistically significantly higher among discordant heterosexual (12.7%), gay (13.0%), bisexual (15.3%), and unsure (15.3%) male adolescents than among heterosexual male (7.2%) adolescents). Adolescents from specific sociodemographic groups are particularly vulnerable to certain types of harassment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is funded by grant R40 MC 26815 (Marla Eisenberg, Principal Investigator) through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services , Health Resources and Services Administration , Maternal and Child Health Research Program. Minnesota Student Survey data were provided by public school students in Minnesota via local public school districts and managed by the Minnesota Student Survey Interagency Team, 2013.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents.


  • Adolescents
  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Youth


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