Long-term relations among peer victimization and internalizing symptoms in children

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Virginia Tech

The primary purpose of this research was to examine the long-term relations between peer victimization and internalizing symptoms (anxiety and depression) in middle school children. Furthermore, this study intended to determine the potential roles of self-worth, self-acceptance, and social supports in moderating or mediating these proposed relations. At time one, 280 sixth grade students participated and at follow up, 77 eighth grade children were participants. All children were from the same public middle school and 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. Significant concurrent correlations were found between the sixth grade predictor variables (victimization, self-worth, social acceptance, social supports). Sixth grade reported peer victimization was also significantly associated with eighth grade depression for boys and eighth grade social anxiety for girls. Tests of mediation supported the role of global self-worth for boys and social acceptance for girls. Teacher support served a significant moderating role for boys' peer victimization-internalizing symptom (depression and social anxiety) relation. In both cases, boys reported fewer internalizing symptoms when peer victimization was low and teacher support was high. Findings are integrated into the literature regarding peer victimization and internalizing difficulties.

mediators and moderators, depression, internalizing disorders, anxiety, bullying, peer victimization