, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 159-173

Negative Affect in Victimized Children: The Roles of Social Withdrawal, Peer Rejection, and Attitudes Toward Bullying

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Abstract

This study evaluated the validity of mediating pathways in predicting self-assessed negative affect from shyness/social withdrawal, peer rejection, victimization by peers (overt and relational), and the attitude that aggression is legitimate and warranted. Participants were 296 3rd through 5th graders (156 girls, 140 boys) from 10 elementary schools. Self-report measures of victimization, attitudes, and negative affect, and a teacher-report measure of shyness/social withdrawal and peer rejection were completed during the spring semesters of 2 consecutive years. Hierarchical regression analyses supported the mediational model in predicting negative affect at Time 2. However, an increase in negative affect over the 12-month study period was best accounted for by direct effects of increased victimization and changes in attitudes/attributions regarding aggression. Implications for the planning of school interventions designed to interrupt these victimization-maladjustment pathways are discussed.