Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Timothy A. Cavell

Committee Member

Ana J. Bridges

Second Committee Member

Ellen W. Leen-Feldner


adolescence, peer victimization, perceived social support, psychiatric illness, rejection sensitivity


In this study, I examined whether rejection sensitivity and perceptions of social support predicted concurrent peer victimization in a sample of adolescents with psychiatric illness. Participants included 43 adolescents, aged 12-18 with diverse psychiatric diagnoses, who were recruited from a summer residential treatment program. Participants completed measures of peer victimization, perceptions of social support, and rejection sensitivity. Participants also completed the global victimization item in the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire, which allowed for comparison of rates of peer victimization across studies (Solberg & Olweus, 2003). Results replicate and extend previous research that indicates adolescents with psychiatric illness experience high rates of peer victimization (Cook, William, Guerra, & Kim, 2009; Hunt, Peters, & Rapee, 2012; Kärnä et al., 2011). Additionally, adolescents high in rejection sensitivity reported lower rates of peer victimization, and adolescents who perceive greater social support from parents, peers, and mentors evidenced lower peer victimization. Results do not support evidence of an interaction between perceptions of social support and rejection sensitivity. Taken together, the unique peer victimization experiences for youth with psychiatric illness have specific implications for researchers and practitioners.