Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Pediatric Psychology 39:4 (2014), pp 469–480. doi 10.1093/jpepsy/jst147


Copyright 2014 Tori R. Van Dyk and Timothy D. Nelson. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society of Pediatric Psychology. Used by permission.


Objective—Involvement in peer victimization has been associated with numerous negative consequences, including poor physical health. The purpose of this study is to improve on previous research evaluating the victimization– health relationship by examining the health (i.e., health-related quality of life [HRQoL], medical service utilization) of both victims and aggressors and examining individual variation in this relationship through the moderating effect of pessimism.

Method—Sample included 125 ethnically diverse youth aged 8–11 years recruited from a low-income medical practice. Child-report of involvement in peer victimization and pessimism was assessed along with parent-report of HRQoL. 2-year medical service utilization was extracted from medical records.

Results—Although not all hypotheses were supported, victims and aggressors were found to be at increased risk for certain poor health outcomes, which were exacerbated by high levels of pessimism.

Conclusion—Findings expand on research into peer victimization and health and provide important implications for identification, prevention, and intervention strategies with at-risk youth.