Date of Graduation

12-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Tim A. Cavell

Committee Member

Ana J. Bridges

Second Committee Member

Ellen Leen-Feldner

Keywords

Psychology; Anxiety sensitivity; Bullying; Emotional avoidance; Peer victimization

Abstract

Chronic peer victimization has been linked to short- and long-term problems such as anxiety, depression, and aggression (Hawker & Bouton, 2000; Reijntjes, Kamphuis, Prinzie, & Telch, 2010; Reijntjes, Kamphuis, Prinzie, Boelen, van der Schoot, & Telch, 2011). Most children are able to escape the role of stable victim, but some struggle to end victimization and the negative trajectory associated with it. The present study explored individual differences in anxiety sensitivity and emotional avoidance, developmental vulnerabilities that heighten children’s risk for internalizing problems, as possible predictors of children’s level of peer victimization. Participants were 677 fourth-grade students and their teachers. Multi-informant path analysis were used to examine the degree to which these developmental vulnerabilities predict peer victimization in concert with or independent of children’s internalizing problems. Results found anxiety sensitivity or emotional avoidance were not directly related to peer victimization; however, anxiety sensitivity was related to internalizing symptoms, which in turn, were related to peer victimization.

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