Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 1529–1541 | Cite as

A Population Study of Victimization, Relationships, and Well-Being in Middle Childhood

  • Martin Guhn
  • Kim A. Schonert-Reichl
  • Anne M. Gadermann
  • Shelley Hymel
  • Clyde Hertzman
Research Paper

Abstract

The paper presents a population-based study on the association of victimization and peer and adult relationships with children’s life satisfaction, self-esteem, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. The study extends previous research by examining 2-, 3-, and 4-way higher-order interaction effects (moderation hypotheses) of adults and peer relationships, victimization, and gender on positive and negative aspects of children’s well-being. The study draws from a representative population-level sample of 2,792 4th graders (Mage = 9.70 years; 48.2 % girls). Data were obtained via student self-report survey on the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI). Given the nested data (children within classrooms), we employed multi-level regression analyses. Positive relationships with adults and peers were most strongly associated with life satisfaction and self-esteem, whereas victimization was most strongly associated with depressive symptoms and anxiety. No significant 2- or 3-way interactions were identified. The 4-way interaction of gender, adult connectedness, peer connectedness, and victimization was significant for three outcomes; that is, victimization was particularly strongly associated with low life satisfaction, low self-esteem, and high depressive symptoms for girls with low self-reports of peer and adult connectedness. The findings have implications for promoting children’s well-being in school and community contexts, corroborating interventions that foster relationship-building skills and simultaneously reduce victimization.

Keywords

Children Life satisfaction Well-being Depressive symptoms Anxiety Social relationships with adults and peers Victimization Population-based study 

Abbreviations

MDI

Middle Years Development Instrument

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Guhn
    • 1
  • Kim A. Schonert-Reichl
    • 1
  • Anne M. Gadermann
    • 1
  • Shelley Hymel
    • 1
  • Clyde Hertzman
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Early Learning PartnershipUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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