Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUCLA

Adolescent Bullying and Socioeconomic Status in Latin America and the Caribbean; An Investigation Across Individual, School and Policy Levels


Bullying during childhood and adolescence can negatively influence various aspects of youth development and long-term well-being. Adults who were bullied as children or adolescents are more likely to struggle with mental health problems such as panic disorders and anxiety, while adolescent bullies are more likely to engage in violent behaviors later in life. Yet, bullying is a common experience for many youths around the world and global surveys estimate that approximately one in three adolescent males and one in four females have been the target of bullying at school.

This dissertation focuses on adolescent bullying in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region of the world affected by high levels of intentional violence among youth, but that so far has been relatively under-researched. Together, these three papers explore the role of socioeconomic factors at the individual and school levels and assess the national policy landscape in the region. The first paper focuses on the relationship between student socioeconomic status and different dimensions of bullying victimization (e.g. physical and verbal). The second paper investigates how the school’s socioeconomic context relates to student bullying victimization. These two papers use data from the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The third paper provides an overview of the antibullying legislative context in Latin America and the Caribbean. This paper includes a descriptive analysis of existing school-based antibullying laws and uses both empirical and iterative methods to create a quantitative legal dataset, which is subsequently used to assess the scope of existing laws, bullying definitions, and preventive measures.

Analyses of the PISA data reveal a sizeable number of missing data, especially among more vulnerable students. Data completeness also varies across participating countries. These findings highlight the difficulties of conducting large international assessments and should support future studies on the topic by underscoring measurement challenges and existing data gaps. Results from the last paper indicate most countries in the region have yet to adopt national antibullying laws. Nevertheless, encouraging signs included the fact that the most populous countries in the region have laws in place and that new laws have steadily emerged over the past ten years.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View