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J Adolesc. 2018 Jun;65:50-60. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2018.02.013. Epub 2018 Mar 14.

Characteristics of bias-based harassment incidents reported by a national sample of U.S. adolescents.

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University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA. Electronic address:
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA.
Center for Innovative Public Health Research, San Clemente, CA, USA.


Using a national sample of youth from the U.S., this paper examines incidents of bias-based harassment by peers that include language about victims' perceived sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, religion, weight or height, or intelligence. Telephone interviews were conducted with youth who were 10-20 years old (n = 791). One in six youth (17%) reported at least one experience with bias-based harassment in the past year. Bias language was a part of over half (52%) of all harassment incidents experienced by youth. Perpetrators of bias-based harassment were similar demographically to perpetrators of non-biased harassment. However, bias-based incidents were more likely to involve multiple perpetrators, longer timeframes and multiple harassment episodes. Even controlling for these related characteristics, the use of bias language in incidents of peer harassment resulted in significantly greater odds that youth felt sad as a result of the victimization, skipped school, avoided school activities, and lost friends, compared to non-biased harassment incidents.


Adolescents; Bias; Bullying; Harassment; Hate victimization; Youth

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