Ethnic bullying, perpetrated against students because of belonging to a particular ethnic group or their migratory background, is a rapidly expanding phenomenon. So far, research has focused on investigating the incidence of the phenomenon and the consequences for the victims. Aim of this study is to identify the possible risk profiles of pupils who perpetrate ethnic bullying. In a sample of 416 adolescents of the majority Italian ethnic group, a comparison was made between those who claimed to perpetrate only traditional bullying and those who claimed to perpetrate ethnic bullying, to check if they differed in prejudice and behavioral dimensions, and dimensions related to their school experience. When the opportunity effect, due to the percentage of students with migrant backgrounds in the classroom, was controlled for, peer popularity and the emotional component of prejudice emerged as the most distinctive characteristics of the profile of ethnic bullies. Results suggest that traditional anti-bullying programs, which focus primarily on group dynamics, are not enough to prevent and to tackle ethnic bullying.
Keywords: Ethnic bullying, immigration, prejudice, peer relationships, social skills.