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Bias-motivated Victimization of Immigrant Students in Schools: Incidence, Impact, and Intervention


Brian P. Daly*, Chandler E. Puhy, Michael J. Silverstein and Lisa Jones   Pages 1 - 19 ( 19 )


Background: Bias-motivated victimization is common among school-age youth and is associated with negative academic and emotional consequences. Few studies have looked at the incidence of various forms of bias-motivated victimization for first- and second-generation immigrant-origin students even though these students represent an especially vulnerable population for experiencing bias.

Objective: The present study investigated whether immigrant-origin students reported higher incidences of bias-motivated victimization relative to their nonimmigrant-origin peers. For students who experienced bias-motivated victimization, we examined the impact of these experiences on levels of distress and examined perceived social and community support between immigrant-origin and nonimmigrant-origin students.

Methods: Participants completed the Youth Bias Victimization Questionnaire (YBVQ), a questionnaire designed to capture information about how often youth experience different types of bias-motivated victimization.

Results: Approximately 60% of youth in the full sample reported experiencing one or more types of bias victimization in their lifetime and this rate was generally equivalent across immigrant-origin and nonimmigrant-origin participants. For those students who reported at least one lifetime event of bias victimization, immigrant-origin youth were more likely than nonimmigrant-origin youth to experience victimization related to peers’ perceptions of their country of origin or immigrant status. There were no significant differences on reported levels of distress, or perceived social and community support between immigrant-origin and nonimmigrant-origin youth, regardless of whether they experienced bias-motivated victimization during their lifetime.

Conclusion: Clinicians working in school settings should be aware of the high incidence of students who experience bias-motivated victimization and when indicated provide targeted intervention services to those negatively impacted by these experiences.


Victimization, Youth, Bias, Immigrant, First-Generation, Second-Generation, Schools


Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

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