Understanding the Course of Peer Victimization and Internalizing Problems among Adolescents: Building Strength through Parent, Friend, and Dating Partner Emotional Support

Date

2013-10-28

Authors

Yeung, Rachel Stacey

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Abstract

This longitudinal study investigated the course and changes in the time-varying covariation between peer victimization and internalizing problems among adolescents who were transitioning into young adulthood, and proposed that initial levels of emotional support from fathers, mothers, and friends diminished the relation between peer victimization and internalizing problems over a four-year period. Sex and developmental transition group differences (for mid-adolescent transition group aged 12-15 years and late adolescent transition group aged 16-19 years) were explored. Participants included 639 adolescents aged 12 to 19 years at baseline testing. Physical and relational victimization, emotional support, and internalizing problems were assessed from adolescent‟s self-reports. Overall, findings revealed that on average internalizing problems increased over time, but also differed by developmental transition group. For the mid-adolescent transition group, increases in physical and relational victimization were significantly associated with increases in internalizing problems. For the late adolescent group, increases in relational victimization (and not in physical victimization) were significantly associated with increases in internalizing problems. Emotional support from fathers, mothers, and friends significantly impacted the time-varying covariation between peer victimization and internalizing problems, and findings differed by sex and transition group. For the mid-adolescent transition group, high levels of mother and father emotional support were associated with decreases in the association between peer victimization and internalizing problems for girls. High levels of friend emotional support were protective for boys, but were associated with increases in the association between peer victimization and internalizing problems for girls. For the late adolescent transition group, high levels of mother emotional support remained protective for girls, but high levels of father and friend emotional support were associated with increases in the association between relational victimization and internalizing problems. High levels of friend emotional support remained protective for boys.

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Keywords

victimization, victims, adolescents

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