School Mental Health

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 819–832 | Cite as

Teachers’ Perceptions of Self- and Peer-Identified Victims

  • Molly DawesEmail author
  • Kate E. Norwalk
  • Chin-Chih Chen
  • Jill V. Hamm
  • Thomas W. Farmer
Original Paper


This study examined whether teachers perceived difference between youth with divergent self- and peer-reports of victimization who exhibit varying patterns of adjustment. Using an ethnically diverse sample of 1360 students from 5th grade classrooms (Mage = 12.01) in rural schools across the USA, we examined teachers’ perceptions of four different victim groups identified using latent profile analysis: convergent victims (high self- and peer-reports of victimization), self-identified victims (high self-, low peer-reports), peer-identified victims (high peer-, low self-reports), and nonvictims (low self- and peer-reports). We found that teachers perceived meaningful differences between victim groups on academic (e.g., problems paying attention), social (e.g., popularity, liked by peers), behavioral (e.g., aggression), and psychological (i.e., internalizing) indices as well as students’ involvement in bullying. Key findings include that convergent victims had more problems academically (i.e., paying attention in class) and were more frequently bullied compared to all other victim groups according to teachers. Teachers also viewed self-identified victims as having more psychological problems and as being more frequently bullied than nonvictims, although they perceived no differences between self-identified victims and nonvictims on indices of social functioning such as popularity, whether they were liked by peers, or whether they were a class leader. Implications for our understanding of different types of victims and suggestions for how teachers and school personnel may support them are discussed.


Victimization Self-report Peer-report Teacher perceptions Student adjustment 



This research was supported in part by grants from the Institute of Education Sciences (R305A04056; R305A120812; R305A140434; R305A160398) awarded to Thomas W. Farmer and Jill V. Hamm (PIs). The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the granting agency.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of EducationUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.School of EducationVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  4. 4.School of EducationThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.School of EducationUniversity of PittsburgPittsburgUSA

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