Date of Graduation

8-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Timothy A. Cavell

Committee Member

Ana J. Bridges

Second Committee Member

Douglas A. Behrend

Third Committee Member

Rebecca A. Schwartz-Mette

Abstract

Stable peer victimization during childhood and adolescence has been linked to both concurrent and future social and psychological maladjustment (e.g., Hawker & Boulton, 2000; Juvonen, Graham, & Schuster, 2003; Kaltiala-Heino, Rimpela, Rantanen, & Rimpela, 2000; Reijntjes, Kamphuis, Prinzie, & Telch, 2010). Currently, there is evidence to suggest the quality of children’s peer relationships is associated with the level and course of their victimization experiences (e.g., Fox & Boulton, 2006; Schwartz, McFayden-Ketchum, Dodge, Petit, & Bates, 1999; Wolke, Woods, & Samara, 2009). Although the link between peer relationship quality and victimization has been well-documented in the literature; lacking is a thorough understanding of the differential predictive utility of specific aspects of peer relationship quality. Also lacking is a clear conceptual model of social risk and assets capable of explaining the different functions aspects of peer relationship quality serve. The current study used a sample of 676 fourth-grade students assessed multiple times over the course of an academic year to examine whether aspects of peer relationship quality were related to changes in and stability of peer victimization. Results revealed that peer rejection was the most reliable predictor of future and stable victimization. Results offered partial supported for the proposed conceptual model of risk for peer victimization grounded in resource control theory and social stigma. Practical applications of the conceptual model to future research and practice are discussed.

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