Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 205–220 | Cite as

Individual Differences in Responses to Provocation and Frequent Victimization by Peers



This study examined associations between victimization by peers and intention to respond to provocative events as a function of anger arousal and motivation to improve the situation in a cross-sectional sample of school-age children (N = 506, 260 males, 246 females). Results demonstrated that more intense anger and more retaliatory motivation were positively associated with intentions to aggress and with frequency of victimization. The association between aggressive intentions to respond to anger provocation and victimization could be accounted for by subjective feelings of anger and motivation to retaliate. The contribution of emotion processes was stronger for boys than for girls. A post hoc examination of non-bullying participants revealed that motivation accounted for aggressive intentions among the non-bullies. Results support including anger management programs in prevention efforts that target the school climate andvictims’ risk for psychopathology.


Victimization by peers Emotion Anger Motivation Aggression Gender 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Olweus D (1993) Bullying at school: what we know and what we can do. Blackwell, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Coie JD, Dodge KA (1998) Aggression and antisocial behavior. In: Damon W, Eisenberg N (eds) Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3. Social, emotional, and personality development, 5th edn. Wiley, New York, pp 779–862Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Crick NR, Bigbee MA (1998) Relational and overt forms of peer victimization: a multiinformant approach. J Consult Clin Psychol 66:337–347PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Batsche GM, Knoff HM (1994) Bullies and their victims: understanding a pervasive problem in the schools. School Psych Rev 23:165–174Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Farrington DP (1993) Understanding and preventing bullying. In: Tonry M (ed) Crime and justice: a review of research: Vol. 17. An annual review of research. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 381–458Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Harachi TW, Catalano RF, Hawkins D (1999) United States. In: Smith PK, Morita Y, Junger-Tas J, Olweus D, Catalano R, Slee P (eds) The nature of school bullying: a cross-national perspective. Routledge, New York, pp 1–4Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nansel TR, Overpeck M, Pilla RS, Ruan WJ, Simons-Morton B, Scheidt P (2001) Bullying behaviors among US youth: prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. JAMA 285:2094–2100PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cicchetti D (1993) Developmental psychopathology: reactions, reflections, projections. Dev Rev 13:471–502CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Barrett KC (1998) A functionalist perspective to the development of emotions. In: Mascolo MR, Griffin S (eds) What develops in emotional development? Plenum Press, New York, pp 109–133Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Campos JJ, Frankel CB, Camras L (2004) On the nature of emotion regulation. Child Dev 75:377–394PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Diamond LM, Aspinwall LG (2003) Integrating diverse developmental perspectives on emotion regulation. Motiv Emotion 27:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cicchetti D, Ackerman BP, Izard CE (1995) Emotions and emotion regulation in developmental psychopathology. Dev Psychopathol 7:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Izard CE, Ackerman BP, Schoff KM (2000) Fine SE self-organization of discrete emotions, emotion patterns, and emotion-cognition relations. In: Lewis MD, Granic I (eds) Emotion, development, and self-organization: dynamic systems approaches to emotional development. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp. 15–36Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Campos JJ, Campos RG, Barrett KC (1989) Emergent themes in the study of emotional development and emotion regulation. Dev Psychol 25:394–402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Izard CE (1993) Organizational and motivational functions of discrete emotions. In: Lewis M, Haviland JM (eds) Handbook of emotions. Guilford Press, New York, pp 631–641Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Saarni C (1999) The development of emotional competence. Guilford Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Frijda N (1986) The emotions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Murphy BC, Eisenberg N (1996) Provoked by a peer: children’s anger-related responses and their relations to social functioning. Merrill-Palmer Q 42:103–124Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Arsenio WF, Cooperman S, Lover A (2000) Affective predictors of preschoolers’ aggression and peer acceptance: direct and indirect effects. Dev Psychol 36:438–448PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kochenderfer-Ladd B (2004) Peer victimization: the role of emotions in adaptive and maladaptive coping. Soc Dev 13:329–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hubbard JA, Parker EH, Ramsden SR, Flanagan KD, Relyea N, Dearing KF et al (2004) The relations among observational, physiological, and self-report measures of children’s anger. Soc Dev 13:14–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Parker EH, Hubbard JA, Ramsden SR, Relyea N, Dearing KF, Smithmyer CM et al (2001) Children’s use and knowledge of display rules for anger following hypothetical vignettes versus following live peer interaction. Soc Dev 10:528–557CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Underwood MK, Bjornstad GJ (2001) Children’s emotional experience of peer provocation: the relation between observed behaviour and self-reports of emotions, expressions, and social goals. Int J Behav Dev 25:320–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Fabes RA, Eisenberg N (1992) Young children’s coping with interpersonal anger. Child Dev 63:116–128PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Eisenberg N, Guthrie IK, Fabes RA, Reiser M, Murphy BC, Holgren R et al (1997) The relations of regulation and emotionality to resiliency and competent social functioning in elementary school children. Child Dev 68:295–311PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Knight GP, Guthrie IK, Page MC, Fabes RA (2002) Emotion arousal and gender differences in aggression: a meta-analysis. Aggress Behav 28:366–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hubbard JA, Smithmyer CM, Ramsden SR, Parker EH, Flanagan KD, Dearing KF et al (2002) Observational, physiological, and self-report measures of children’s anger: relations to reactive versus proactive aggression. Child Dev 73:1101–1118PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Averill JR (2002) Anger and aggression: an essay on emotion. Springer-Verlag, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Averill JR (1983) Studies on anger and aggression: implications for theories of emotion. Am Psychol 38:1145–1160PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hanish LD, Eisenberg N, Fabes RA, Spinard TL, Ryan P, Schmidt S (2004) The expression and regulation of negative emotions: risk factors for young children’s peer victimization. Dev Psychopathol 16:335–353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Shields A, Cicchetti D (2001) Parental maltreatment and emotion dysregulation as risk factors for bullying and victimization in middle childhood. J Clin Child Psychol 30:349–363PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Hodges EVE, Perry DG (1999) Personal and interpersonal antecedents and consequences of victimization by peers. J Pers Soc Psychol 76:677–685PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Perry DG, Kusel SJ, Perry LC (1988) Victims of peer aggression. Dev Psychol 24:807–814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Schwartz D, Dodge KA, Coie JD (1993) The emergence of chronic peer victimization in boys’ play groups. Child Dev 64:1755–1772 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Champion K, Vernberg E, Shipman K (2003) Nonbullying victims of bullies: aggression, social skills, and friendship characteristics. J Appl Dev Psychol 24:535–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Pellegrini AD, Bartini M, Brooks F (1999) School bullies, victims, and aggressive victims: factors relating to group affiliation and victimization in early adolescence. J Educ Psychol 91:216–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Poulin F, Boivin M (2000) Reactive and proactive aggression: evidence of a two-factor model. Psychol Assess 12:115–122PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Vernberg EM, Jacobs AK, Hershberger SL (1999) Peer victimization and attitudes about violence during early adolescence. J Clin Child Psychol 28:386–395PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Salmivalli C, Nieminen E (2002) Proactive and reactive aggression among school bullies, victims, and bully-victims. Aggress Behav 28:30–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Maccoby EE, Jacklin CN (1980) Sex differences in aggression: a rejoinder and reprise. Child Dev 51:964–980PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Tangney JP, Becker B, Hill-Barlow D (1996) Gender differences in constructive vs. destructive responses to anger across the lifespan. Unpublished manuscript, George Mason University, Fairfax, VirginiaGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Aber JL, Brown JL, Jones SM (2003) Developmental trajectories toward violence in middle childhood: course, demographic differences, and response to school-based intervention. Dev Psychol 39:324–348PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Zeman J, Garber J (1996) Display rules for anger, sadness, and pain: it depends on who is watching. Child Dev 67:957–973PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Tangney JP, Hill-Barlow D, Wagner PE, Marschall DE, Borenstein JK, Sanftner J et al (1996) Assessing individual differences in constructive versus destructive responses to anger across the lifespan. J Pers Soc Psychol 70:780–796PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    U.S. Census Bureau. State and county quickfacts: Brown County, Minnesota [Internet]. Available at: Accessed Feb 1, 2002Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Grotpeter JK, Crick NR (1996) Relational aggression, overt aggression, and friendship. Child Dev 67:2328–2338PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Crick NR, Grotpeter JK (1995) Relational aggression, gender, and social–psychological adjustment. Child Dev 66:710–722PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Aiken LS, West SG (1991) Multiple regression: testing and interpreting interactions. Sage, Newbury Park, CAGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Baron RM, Kenny DA (1986) The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations. J Pers Soc Psychol 51:1173–1182PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Perry DG, Williard JC, Perry LC (1990) Peers’ perceptions of the consequences that victimized children provide aggressors. Child Dev 61:1310–1325PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Preacher KJ, Leonardelli GJ. Calculation for the Sobel test: an interactive calculation tool for mediation tests [Internet]. Available at: sobel.htm. Accessed Feb 1, 2006Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Musher-Eizenman DR, Boxer P, Danner S, Dubow EF, Goldstein SE, Heretick DML (2004) Social–cognitive mediators of the relation of environmental and emotion regulation factors to children’s aggression. Aggress Behav 30:389–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Craig WM, Pepler D, Atlas R (2000) Observations of bullying in the playground and in the classroom. Sch Psychol Int 21:22–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Wilton MMM, Craig WM, Pepler DJ (2000) Emotional regulation and display in classroom victims of bullying: characteristic expressions of affect, coping styles and relevant contextual factors. Soc Dev 9:226–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Underwood MK, Hurley JC, Johanson CA, Mosely JE (1999) An experimental, observational investigation of children’s responses to peer provocation: developmental and gender differences in middle childhood. Child Dev 70:1428–1446PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Child Development and Family Studies Research CenterArizona State University at the West CampusPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.College of Education and Human ServicesWestern Illinois UniversityMacombUSA

Personalised recommendations