Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 36, Issue 8, pp 984–994

Perceived Social Support among Bullies, Victims, and Bully-Victims

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10964-006-9153-3

Cite this article as:
K. Holt, M. & L. Espelage, D. J Youth Adolescence (2007) 36: 984. doi:10.1007/s10964-006-9153-3


Research indicates that social support plays a protective role among adolescents, but little research has explicitly evaluated its function among youth involved in bullying. Accordingly, this study examined relations among social support, bully/victim status, and psychological distress in a sample of 784 ethnically diverse youth. We assessed differences in perceived social support across bully/victim subtypes, and evaluated peer and maternal social support as protective factors among victims, bullies, and bully-victims. Youth were classified as uninvolved (61.6%), as bullies (14.3%), as victims (12.5%), and as bully-victims (11.6%). Uninvolved youth reported the most peer and maternal social support and the least anxiety/depression. Multivariate analyses revealed that there was a significant interaction between bully/victim groups and peer social support. Specifically, bullies, victims, and bully-victims who reported moderate peer social support also indicated the least anxiety/depression. Results highlight the importance of encouraging youth to develop and effectively use peer support networks as part of bullying intervention programs.


BullyingVictimizationSocial supportAdolescence

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Assistant Professor, Family Research Laboratory and Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New HampshireDurhamEngland
  2. 2.Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA