Bullying gangs among immigrant adolescents from the former Soviet Union in Israel: A psycho-culturally determined group defense

E. Tartakovsky, J. Mirsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article describes and analyzes the phenomenon of bullying gangs, which emerged in groups of adolescents who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union (FSU) without their parents. Such gangs typically consisted of a number of youth organized hierarchically, who attempted to control other members of the group. They created a group structure and a defined set of rules that regulated the interactions between group members and those with the external environment. Bullying, physical violence, alcohol, drug consumption, and petty theft were among the behaviors typical to such gangs. It is suggested that the gangs be viewed as a defense mechanism employed in an attempt to regain control in an unfamiliar environment and in the absence of a reliable parental figure. Immigration and adolescence, alienating attitudes of the absorbing environment, and culturally determined models of behavior are discussed as factors that contribute to the creation of such gangs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-265
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001

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