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Crim Behav Ment Health. 2015 Apr;25(2):141-55. doi: 10.1002/cbm.1919. Epub 2014 Jun 9.

Who becomes more violent among Korean adolescents? Consequences of victimisation in school.

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University of Texas, Arlington, TX, USA.



Mainly Western studies suggest that bullying increases risk of subsequent offending. Less is known about risk of violence specifically. Very little such research is from Asia - none from Korea.


This study aimed to answer three research questions: Is being a victim of bullying in Korean schools associated with later perpetration of violent behaviour? Does type of bullying influence type of offending? Does school climate or parental control mediate this relationship?


Juvenile justice intake officers identified 606 young offenders who were asked to complete questionnaires about their school experience, school climate and parental supervision. We used multinomial logit model with maximum likelihood estimation to evaluate relationships between the variables of interest.


Over half (310) of these young people had committed at least one violent offence. Seventy-six (13%) reported having experienced emotional bullying at school and 31 (5%) physical bullying. Violent offending was over twice as likely as property offending to be associated with emotional bullying history (OR 2.38, CI 1.13-5.01), but three times less likely with physical bullying (OR 0.31, CI 0.11-0.87). In addition, parental control (but not school climate) increased the likelihood of violent offending or other delinquency by 15% (OR 1.14, CI 1.02-1.26; OR 1.16, CI 1.01-1.32, respectively).


Our overarching finding of a relationship between childhood experience of bullying and later delinquency is in line with Western findings. Where, however, the latter are equivocal on risk of later violence perpetration, we found that being emotionally bullied raises the risk of becoming violent. Our findings also underscore the importance of having studies from a range of cultures. Predictions from Western studies would be that parental control would be protective and school climate a potential risk factor for later violence, but, in Korea, where parenting styles tend to be highly authoritarian, we found differently.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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