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Relation of Depression and Anxiety to Self- and Peer-Reported Relational Aggression

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Abstract

The primary purpose of this multimethod and multimeasure study was to identify how the peer relationships of Australian adolescents (ages 9–15 years; N = 335) at school, including relational aggression and victimization, correlated with their symptoms of depression and anxiety. Moreover, relational aggression and victimization were measured via both self- and peer report, and discrepancies between reports were considered as correlates of symptoms and peer relationship status. Adolescents who reported more symptoms of depression and anxiety also self-reported more relational victimization and reported their peers as less trustworthy. Adolescents who overreported their own relational victimization and aggression compared with peer report had more symptoms compared with those who agreed with their peers or underreported their aggression and victimization. Adolescents who underreported their own aggression were not only more socially prominent but were also more disliked by their peers. When considered independent of self-reports, no measure of peer-reported peer status, aggression, or victimization was associated with depressive symptoms; but adolescents reported as more accepted by their peers had fewer anxiety symptoms. Longitudinal research should be conducted to examine adolescents' increasing socioemotional problems as correlates of discrepancies between self- and peer reports of relational aggression and victimization. Aggr. Behav. 38:16-30, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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