Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version

Summer 5-22-2013

Document Type



Griese, E. (2013). Peer victimization and prosocial behavior trajectories: Exploring a potential protective factor for victims. PhD Dissertation, University of Nebraska.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education (Cognition, Learning, and Development), Under the Supervision of Professor Eric S. Buhs. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Emily R. Griese


The purpose of this study was to examine the developmental trajectory of a potential source of resilience, prosocial behaviors, and its association with children’s peer victimization from third to sixth grade. Latent growth mixture modeling (LGMM) was employed to explore first whether there were latent classes that emerged from these associations over time, and second, if there was a latent class indicating a potentially resilient pattern for victims. That is, a class with decreasing peer victimization and increasing or high-stable prosocial behaviors. The current study examined 1091 children (540 females, 81.4% Caucasian) who were followed across several time points (birth to 9th grade) as part of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care. Data from the third phase were used for the current study, with assessments included from third to sixth grade. Findings from a parallel process LGMM indicated three latent classes (labeled normative, at-risk, and resilient) emerged from the data supporting the proposed hypotheses. Characteristics of each class are as follows: the normative class indicated a slight decrease in victimization and high-stable prosocial behaviors, the at-risk class indicated increasing victimization and decreasing prosocial behaviors, and, most notably, the resilient class indicated high initial, but dramatically decreasing victimization and high-stable prosocial behaviors. Follow-up analyses with covariates from the family, school, and individual levels further supported the labeling of these classes. Results highlight the need for further examine potential heterogeneity among victims, in particular, examining a source of resilience the victims themselves can enact. Implications for future studies examining prosocial behaviors as a source of resilience for peer victimized children are discussed.

Advisor: Eric S. Buhs