Little research has explored whether social policies aimed at lessening economic hardship affect the prevalence of bullying, particularly after the Great Recession. This article investigates how the strains of neighborhood and cumulative disadvantage are associated with racial differences in bullying, and we consider whether social program participation—enlistment in needs-based social programs to attenuate poverty and disadvantage—upends race-based differences in bullying. Using probit, negative binomial, and propensity score matching methods, we show that adolescents who experience any markers of disadvantage are more likely to bully others, with Black and Hispanic adolescents being more likely to engage in bullying than Whites. Importantly, matched estimates reveal that participation in needs-based social programs eliminates racial differences in bullying.
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