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Sad and alone: Social and psychological correlates of relational victimization in preadolescence

Lynae Johnsen Frerichs, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the roles of prosocial perceptions and gender in the relative relationships between relational victimization and depressive symptoms; and relational victimization and loneliness/social dissatisfaction among preadolescents. Five hypotheses guided this investigation. First, it was hypothesized that students reporting high-level relational victimization would experience higher levels of depressive symptoms as compared to students reporting low-level relational victimization. Second, it was hypothesized that students reporting high-level relational victimization would experience higher levels of loneliness/social dissatisfaction as compared to students reporting low-level loneliness/social dissatisfaction. The third hypothesis was prosocial perceptions would moderate the relative relationships between relational victimization and depressive symptoms; and relational victimization and loneliness/social dissatisfaction. Hypothesis four was students reporting both high-level relational victimization and high-level prosocial perceptions would report lower levels of depressive symptoms and loneliness/social dissatisfaction compared to students reporting both high-level relational victimization and low-level prosocial perceptions. The final hypothesis guiding this investigation was the path coefficients would be stronger for girls. ^ Participants in this study included 907 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students from three Midwestern middle schools that participated in a larger longitudinal study on bullying and peer relationships. Findings from one-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) supported the hypotheses that students reporting high-level relational victimization report higher levels of depressive symptoms and loneliness/social dissatisfaction than students reporting low-level relational victimization. Findings from Structural Equation Modeling analyses did support the hypothesis that prosocial perceptions would moderate the relative relationships between relational victimization and depressive symptoms; and relational victimization and loneliness/social dissatisfaction. The hypothesis that path coefficients would be stronger for girls, was not supported. Findings supported the hypothesized protective function of prosocial perceptions in the associations among relational victimization, depressive symptoms, and loneliness/social dissatisfaction. Specifically, students reporting high-level relational victimization and high-level prosocial perceptions experienced fewer depressive symptoms and loneliness/social dissatisfaction than high-level relational victims reporting low-level prosocial perceptions. ^ The theoretical and applied implications of these findings are discussed, along with limitations of the current investigation. Finally, possible directions for future research are identified.^

Subject Area

Psychology, Behavioral|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Frerichs, Lynae Johnsen, "Sad and alone: Social and psychological correlates of relational victimization in preadolescence" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3360042.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3360042

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