Background: Peer victimization is experienced by an alarming number of youth. A variety of coping strategies may be used by youth to avoid the risk of peer victimization, including behaviors such as avoidance, displaying a tough demeanor, defensive behaviors, establishing a reputation, and forming affiliations with family and community members. However, little research has examined how these coping strategies are simultaneously associated with peer victimization experiences. Objective: The present study explored how these five coping strategies were associated with peer victimization among African American youth living in low-income urban communities, a group of youth at risk for high levels of exposure to violence and victimization. It was hypothesized that more use of these strategies would be associated with less peer victimization. Method: The study comprised of 534 African American youth from low-income communities located in Chicago’s Southside. Multivariate regression analysis was conducted to identify which coping strategies, when assessed simultaneously, were associated with a lower risk of peer victimization. Results: Results indicated that defensive behavior was negatively associated with peer victimization. Higher levels of tough demeanor and affiliation with family and community members were associated with higher levels of peer victimization. Coping strategies of avoidance and establishing a reputation were not significantly associated with peer victimization. Conclusion: Peer affiliation does not always contribute to positive outcomes, particularly among adolescents in urban areas. A further examination of the coping strategies and socialization processes of urban African American youth in low-resourced communities is warranted.
- African Americans
- Peer victimization
- Urban communities
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Life-span and Life-course Studies