255378 Connectedness, religiosity, and preadolescents' bullying: Perceptions of Hispanic after-school program participants

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 11:10 AM - 11:30 AM

Melissa C. Mercado-Crespo, MSc, MA , Department of Community & Family Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Martha L. Coulter, DrPH MPH MSW , Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health, Tampa, FL
Monica Macahuachi , College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Background: Relationships or connections with caring pro-social others (e.g., parents, teachers, school, friends, neighborhood, religion) serve as pro-resilience assets that may enhance children's abilities to cope with bullying. This study explored Hispanic preadolescents' views on bullying, connectedness and religiosity.

Methods: A purposive sample of six Spanish-speaking 10-12 year-olds at an afterschool program participated in 4 focus group discussions. The researchers developed a bilingual (English-Spanish) discussion guide and socio-economic questionnaire based on the peer-reviewed literature and prior research. Audio was recorded and transcribed; detailed notes were taken. Thematic analyses were iterative, and conducted as part of the axial coding progression.

Results: Participants defined bullying as being wrong, harmful, intentional and repetitive. They believe being connected to others requires time, communication, similar interests and trust. Differences in why preadolescents are/are not connected to specific others were noted. Participants were more concrete than abstract in their perceptions about religiosity. A significant portion of their remarks had to do with public actions that could be witnessed by others (e.g., go to church, talk/dress/act a certain way, celebrate specific holidays).

Conclusions: Findings from this exploratory study provide a foundation for more in-depth research on the perceptions of Hispanic preadolescents on bullying, and the roles of connectedness and religiosity in its prevention. Its qualitative format allowed for the voices of minority children to be heard. Findings also helped inform the development of a quantitative instrument to study the roles of connectedness to others and religiosity on Puerto Rico preadolescents' bullying behaviors.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the perceptions on bullying, connectedness and religiosity of a sample of Hispanic preadolescents at an after-school program.

Keywords: Youth Violence, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as the principal investigator for this research study. I'm experienced in research with Hispanic and children populations, as well as in children's violence issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.