SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Background

Peer victimization is associated with increased internalizing problems and reduced school adjustment. Research into the main effect and the buffering effect of social support on these internalizing problems has produced inconsistent findings, and none has tested the buffering effect of social support on school adjustment. Moreover, recent studies have underlined the importance of taking various sources of social support into account.

Aims

This study aims to test the relationships between peer victimization and school disaffection, the moderation effect of parental, peer and teacher social support, and the mediation effect of depression.

Sample

Four hundred seventh and eighth graders participated in this study.

Method

Students filled out a questionnaire assessing peer victimization, depression, academic self-efficacy, school disaffection, and perceived social support from parents, peers, and teachers.

Results

Peer victimization was negatively associated with self-efficacy and positively associated with school disaffection. Regression analyses showed a main negative effect of social support (especially teacher support) on depression and school disaffection and a positive effect on self-efficacy. No significant interactions emerged between victimization and social support or between sources of social support. Path analyses indicated that the effects of victimization on self-efficacy and school disaffection were fully mediated by depression, but that the effects of social support are partially independent of depression. Multigroup analyses indicated that these relationships were parallel among boys and girls.

Conclusions

The results of this study are consistent with the main effect model of social support. They also highlight the importance of teacher support for school adjustment.