Peer Victimization and Internalizing Symptoms in Middle School Children
Grills, Amie E.
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The primary purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationships among peer victimization, global self-worth, social support, and internalizing behaviors (e.g., anxiety, social anxiety, and depression). Of particular interest were the potential mediating and moderating roles of global self-worth and social support in the anticipated relationships between peer victimization and internalizing symptoms. All sixth grade children from a public middle school completed self-report measures representing the constructs previously described. Reported levels of peer victimization were found to be similar to those reported in previous studies. In addition, significant associations were found among all variables of interest, with the exception of social support and total anxiety. Global self-worth was found to partially mediate the peer victimization-social anxiety and peer victimization-depression relationships. These findings suggest that victimization experiences may negatively influence children's views of themselves and help explain the elevated levels of depression and social anxiety also reported by them. Furthermore, global self-worth moderated the peer victimization-total anxiety relationship, such that children with higher global self-worth reported fewer total anxiety symptoms than children with lower global self-worth. However, analyses failed to support the role of social support as either a mediator or moderator in the relationships examined. Findings are integrated into the literature regarding peer victimization and internalizing symptomology.
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