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Keywords:

  • victimization;
  • friends;
  • siblings;
  • prosociality

Abstract

Based on the notion that friendship may serve an important protective function against peer victimization, this study examined the moderating effect of reciprocal friends' prosociality on the link between a child's reactive aggression and victimization. The study also investigated whether a similar moderating effect could be found with respect to sibling's prosociality, given that sibling relationships have been found to provide social benefits comparable to friendships. These questions were addressed using a sample of 246 six-year-old twin pairs (246 boys and 246 girls). The results showed that a child's own reactive aggression uniquely contributed to the risk of victimization for both boys and girls. The link between reactive aggression and victimization was, however, moderated by reciprocal friends' prosocial behavior and siblings' prosocial behavior, respectively. The results are discussed in terms of their theoretical and prevention-related implications for children at risk for peer victimization.