Connected and Isolated Victims of Relational Aggression: Associations with Peer Group Status and Differences between Girls and Boys
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- Zimmer-Gembeck, M.J., Pronk, R.E., Goodwin, B. et al. Sex Roles (2013) 68: 363. doi:10.1007/s11199-012-0239-y
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Some adolescents who are relationally victimized by gossip and ostracism have limited close connections to a peer or friendship group, but victimization also can be group-based, occurring between or within friendship groups. The purpose of this study was to test gender differences in these two forms of victimization, referred to as isolated and connected victimization, and to test associations of each form with peer status (social prominence and preference within the peer group) and aggressive behavior. We expected that associations between victimization, especially connected victimization, peer status and aggressive behavior would differ for boys and girls. Australian students (N = 335, Mage = 12.5 years) self-reported victimization, and nominated peers who were victimized, accepted, rejected, socially prominent, and unpopular. Connected and isolated forms of victimization were correlated, but differences were found in their correlations with other measures and by gender. Especially when reported by peers, adolescents higher in connected victimization were also higher in both aggression and social prominence (i.e., they were more popular and considered leaders); yet, they were also more disliked (rejected). In contrast to connected victimization, isolated victimization was associated with negative peer status only, and weakly and inconsistently associated with aggression. Finally, gender moderation was found, which showed a pattern of aggression, prominence and dislike among adolescent females who were connected victims, but this pattern was not nearly as pronounced in their male counterparts.