Peer groups and victimisation among native and immigrant adolescents in Norway

Hildegunn Fandrem, Dagmar Strohmeier, Kolbrun Asta Jonsdottir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the rapid increase in immigration all over Europe and concerns expressed for the adjustment of immigrant children and young people, studies on peer victimisation among them are scarce. By combining the predictions of the acculturative stress model with the social-ecological perspective of peer victimisation, this study compared different forms of peer victimisation in native Norwegian and immigrant young people, and explored whether depressive symptoms and the ethnic composition of peer groups in multicultural classes were related to levels of victimisation. Victimisation and depressive symptoms were investigated with self-assessments. Social cognitive mapping was used to identify peer groups in classes. The sample comprised 97 native adolescents and 59 immigrant adolescents attending 10 grade 8, 9 and 10 classes in a multicultural urban Norwegian secondary school. In line with the predictions of the acculturative stress model, young immigrants reported higher global victimisation compared with native Norwegians. However, they did not differ regarding depressive symptoms. In total, 42 peer groups were identified; 26 were ethnically mixed. Taking into account the base rate of ethnically mixed peer groups in the sample, the number of victims was not related to their ethnic composition. Moreover, gender and immigrant status did not moderate the associations between depressive symptoms and victimisation. The study highlights the importance of investigating the ethnic composition of peer groups to understand better the dynamics of victimisation in multicultural classes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-285
Number of pages13
JournalEmotional & Behavioural Difficulties
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


  • depressive symptoms
  • immigrants
  • peer groups
  • victimisation


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