Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.
The impact of peer victimization on later maladjustment: mediating and moderating effects of hostile and self-blaming attributions
Article first published online: 11 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2012 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 54, Issue 1, pages 46–55, January 2013
How to Cite
Perren, S., Ettekal, I. and Ladd, G. (2013), The impact of peer victimization on later maladjustment: mediating and moderating effects of hostile and self-blaming attributions. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54: 46–55. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02618.x
- Issue published online: 17 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 11 OCT 2012
- Accepted for publication: 26 July 2012
- Peer victimization;
- hostile attributions;
- internalizing problems;
- externalizing problems
Background: Evidence indicates that being a victim of bullying or peer aggression has negative short- and long-term consequences. In this study, we investigated the mediating and moderating role of two types of attributional mechanisms (hostile and self-blaming attributions) on children’s maladjustment (externalizing and internalizing problems).
Methods: In total, 478 children participated in this longitudinal study from grade 5 to grade 7. Children, parents, and teachers repeatedly completed questionnaires. Peer victimization was assessed through peer reports (T1). Attributions were assessed through self-reports using hypothetical scenarios (T2). Parents and teachers reported on children’s maladjustment (T1 and T3).
Results: Peer victimization predicted increases in externalizing and internalizing problems. Hostile attributions partially mediated the impact of victimization on increases in externalizing problems. Self-blame was not associated with peer victimization. However, for children with higher levels of self-blaming attributions, peer victimization was linked more strongly with increases in internalizing problems.
Conclusions: Results imply that hostile attributions may operate as a potential mechanism through which negative experiences with peers lead to increases in children’s aggressive and delinquent behavior, whereas self-blame exacerbates victimization’s effects on internalizing problems.