Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 11–26 | Cite as

The Influence of Static and Dynamic Intrapersonal Factors on Longitudinal Patterns of Peer Victimization through Mid-adolescence: a Latent Transition Analysis



Using 6 cycles (grade 5 through grade 10) of data obtained from a large prospective sample of Canadian school children (N = 700; 52.6% girls), we replicated previous findings concerning the empirical definition of peer victimization (i.e., being bullied) and examined static and dynamic intrapersonal factors associated with its emergence and experiential continuity through mid-adolescence. Latent class analyses consistently revealed a low victimization and an elevated victimization class across time, supporting previous work suggesting peer victimization was defined by degree rather than by type (e.g., physical). Using latent transition analyses (LTA), we found that child sex, parent-perceived pubertal development, and internalizing symptoms influenced the probability of transitioning from the low to the elevated victimization class across time. Higher-order extensions within the LTA modeling framework revealed a lasting effect of grade 5 victimization status on grade 10 victimization status and a large effect of chronic victimization on later parent-reported youth internalizing symptoms (net of prior parent-reported internalizing symptoms) in later adolescence (grade 11). Implications of the current findings for the experience of peer victimization, as well as the application of latent transition analysis as a useful approach for peer victimization research, are discussed.


Peer victimization Bullying Development Latent transition analysis Longitudinal 



We thank Heather Brittain, Amanda Krygsman, and Patricia McDougall for the help with the study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts 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 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

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

Supplementary material

10802_2017_342_MOESM1_ESM.docx (252 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 251 kb)


  1. Arseneault, L., Bowes, L., & Shakoor, S. (2010). Bullying victimization in youths and mental health problems: ‘much ado about nothing’? Psychological Medicine, 40, 717–729. doi: 10.1017/2FS0033291709991383.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bellmore, A. D., & Cillessen, A. H. N. (2006). Reciprocal influences of victimization, perceived social preference, and self-concept in adolescence. Self and Identity, 5, 209–229. doi: 10.1080/15298860600636647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowes, L., Joinson, C., Wolke, D., & Lewis, G. (2015). Peer vicitmisation during adolescence and its impact on depression in early adulthood: Prospective cohort study in the United Kingdom. BMJ, 350, h2469. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h2469.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Bradshaw, C. P., Waasdorp, T. E., & O’Brennan, L. M. (2013). A latent class approach to examining forms of peer victimization. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 839–849. doi: 10.1037/a0032091.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Brendgen, M., Vitaro, F., Turgeon, L., & Poulin, F. (2002). Assessing aggressive and depressed children’s social relations with classmates and friends: A matter of perspective. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30, 609–624. doi: 10.1023/A:1020863730902.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Casper, D. M., & Card, N. A. (2017). Overt and relational victimization: A meta-analytic review of their overlap and associations with social-psychological adjustment. Child Development, 88, 466–483. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12621.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Cassidy, W., Jackson, M., & Brown, K. N. (2009). Stick and stones can break my bones, but how can pixels hurt me? School Psychology International, 30, 383–402. doi: 10.1177/0143034309106948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.112.1.155.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Collins, L. M., & Lanza, S. T. (2010). Latent class and latent transition analysis. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  10. Conley, C. S., & Rudolph, K. D. (2009). The emerging sex difference in adolescent depression: Interacting contributions of puberty and peer stress. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 593–620. doi: 10.1017/S0954579409000327.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Craig, W., Pepler, D., Connolly, J., & Henderson, K. (2001). Developmental context of peer harassment in early adolescence: The role of puberty and the peer group. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.), Peer harassment in the school: The plight of the vulnerable and the victimized (pp. 242–262). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  12. Crick, N. R. (1997). Engagement in gender normative versus nonnormative forms of aggression: Links to social-psychological adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 33, 610–617. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.33.4.610.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Cunningham, C. E., Pettingill, P., & Boyle. (2000). The Brief Child and Family Phone Interview (BCFPI). Hamilton: Canadian Centre for the study of Children at Risk, Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, McMaster University.Google Scholar
  14. Dawkins, R. (2006). The Selfish Gene. 30 th (Anniversary ed.). New York: Oxford University Press, Inc..Google Scholar
  15. Dorn, L. D., Dahl, R. E., Woodward, H. R., & Biro, F. (2006). Defining the boundaries of early adolescence: A user’s guide to assessing pubertal status and pubertal timing in research with adolescents. Applied Developmental Science, 10, 30–56. doi: 10.1207/s1532480xads1001_3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Eslea, M., Menesini, E., Morita, Y., O’Moore, M., Mora-Merchán, J. A., Pereira, B., & Smith, P. K. (2003). Friendship and loneliness among bullies and victims: Data from seven countries. Aggressive Behavior, 30, 71–83. doi: 10.1002/ab.20006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Faris, R., & Felmlee, D. (2014). Casualties of social combat: School networks of peer victimization and their consequences. American Sociological Review, 79, 228–257. doi: 10.1177/0003122414524573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Feldman, B. J., Masyn, K. E., & Conger, R. D. (2009). New approaches to studying problem behaviors: A comparison of methods for modeling longitudinal, categorical adolescent drinking data. Developmental Psychology, 45, 652–676. doi: 10.1037/a0014851.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  19. Graber, J. A. (2013). Pubertal timing and the development of psychopathology in adolescence and beyond. Hormones and Behavior, 64, 262–269. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2013.04.003.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Graber, J. A., & Sontag, L. M. (2009). Internalizing problems during adolescence. In R. M. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psychology (3rd ed., pp. 642–682). Hoboken: Wiley & Sons, Inc..Google Scholar
  21. Graber, J. A., Lewinsohn, P. M., Seeley, J. R., & Brooks-Gunn, J. B. (1997). Is psychopathology associated with the timing of pubertal development. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 1768–1776. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199712000-00026.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Haltigan, J. D., & Vaillancourt, T. (2014). Joint trajectories of bullying and peer victimization across elementary and middle school and associations with symptoms of psychopathology. Developmental Psychology, 50, 2426–2436. doi: 10.1037/a0038030.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hawker, D. S. J., & Boulton, M. J. (2000). Twenty years’ research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment: A meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41, 441–455. doi: 0.1111/1469-7610.00629.
  24. Haynie, D. L., & Piquero, A. R. (2006). Pubertal development and physical victimization in adolescence. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 43, 3–35. doi: 10.1177/0022427805280069.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Herman, K. C., Wang, K., Trotter, R., Reinke, W. M., & Ialongo, N. (2013). Developmental trajectories of maladaptive perfectionism among African American adolescents. Child Development, 84, 1633–1650. doi: 0.1111/cdev.12078.
  26. Jormanainen, E., Fröjd, S., Marttunen, M., & Kaltiala-Heino, R. (2014). Is pubertal timing associated with involvement in bullying in middle adolescence? Health Psychology & Behavioural Medicine, 2, 144–159. doi: 10.1080/21642850.2014.881259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kaltiala-Heino, R., Marttunen, M., Rantanen, P., & Rimpelä, M. (2003). Early puberty is associated with mental health problems in middle adolescence. Social Science & Medicine, 57, 1055–1064. doi: 10.1016/S0277-9536(02)00480-X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kiesner, J. (2002). Depressive symptoms in early adolescence: Their relations with classroom problem behavior. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 12, 463–478. doi: 10.1111/1532-7795.00042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kim, Y. S., Leventhal, B. L., Koh, Y.-J., Hubbard, A., & Boyce, T. (2006). School bullying and youth violence: Causes or consequences of psychopathologic behavior? Archives of General Psychiatry, 63, 1035–1041. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.63.9.1035.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Kochel, K. P., Ladd, G. W., & Rudolph, K. (2012). Longitudinal associations among youth depressive symptoms, peer victimization, and low peer acceptance: An interpersonal process perspective. Child Development, 83, 637–650. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01722.x.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Kochenderfer, B. J., & Ladd, G. W. (1996). Peer victimization: Cause or consequence of school maladjustment. Child Development, 67, 1305–1317. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1996.tb01797.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Kretschmer, T., Barker, E. D., Dijkstra, J. K., Oldehinkel, A. J., & Veenstra, R. (2015). Multifinality of peer victimization: Maladjustment patterns and transitions from early to mid-adolescence. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 24, 1169–1179. doi: 10.1007/s00787-014-0667-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Krygsman, A. & Vaillancourt, T. (2017). Longitudinal associations between depression symptoms and peer experiences: Evidence of symptoms-driven pathways. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2017.05.003.
  34. Langeheine, R., & Van de Pol, F. (1994). Discrete-time mixed Markov latent class models. In A. Dale & R. B. Davies (Eds.), Analyzing social and political change: A casebook of methods (pp. 171–197). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  35. Lanza, S. T., & Collins, L. M. (2002). Pubertal timing and the onset of substance use in females during early adolescence. Prevention Science, 3, 69–82. doi: 10.1023/A:1014675410947.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Lanza, S. T., & Collins, B. R. (2016). Latent class analysis for developmental research. Child Development Perspectives, 10, 59–64. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lereya, S., Samara, M., & Wolke, D. (2013). Parenting behavior and the risk of becoming a victim and a bully/victim: A meta-analysis study. Child Abuse & Neglect. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.03.001.
  38. Lereya, S. T., Copeland, W. E., Costello, E. J., & Wolke, D. (2015). Adult mental health consequences of peer bullying and maltreatment in childhood: Two cohorts in two countries. Lancet Psychiatry, 2, 524–531. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(15)00165-0.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  39. McDougall, P., & Vaillancourt, T. V. (2015). Long-term adult outcomes of peer victimization in childhood and adolescence: Pathways to adjustment and maladjustment. American Psychologist, 70, 300–310. doi: 0.1037/a0039174.
  40. Mendle, J. (2014). Why puberty matters for psychopathology. Child Development Perspectives, 8, 218–222. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2012). Mplus Users Guide (7th ed.). Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  42. Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 2094–2100. doi: 10.1001/jama.285.16.2094.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  43. Neary, A., & Joseph, S. (1994). Peer victimization and its relationship to self-concept and depression among schoolgirls. Personality and Individual Differences, 16, 183–186. doi: 10.1016/0191-8869(94)90122-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2001). Gender differences in depression. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 173–176. doi: 10.1111/1467-8721.00142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nylund, K. (2007). Latent transition analysis: Modeling extensions and an application to peer victimization (unpublished doctoral dissertation). Los Angeles: University of California.Google Scholar
  46. Nylund, K., Bellmore, A., Nishina, A., & Graham, S. (2007). Subtypes, severity, and structural stability of peer victimization: What does latent class analysis say? Child Development, 78, 1706–1722. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01097.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Nylund, K., Muthén, B., Nishina, A., Bellmore, A., & Graham, S. (2007). Stability and instability of peer victimization during middle school: Using latent transition analysis with covariates, distal outcomes, and modeling extensions. Los Angeles: University of California, Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  48. O’Brennan, L. M., Bradshaw, C. P., & Sawyer, A. L. (2009). Examining developmental differences in the social-emotional problems among frequent bullies, victims, and bully/victims. Psychology in the Schools, 46, 100–115. doi: 10.1002/pits.20357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Olweus, D. (1991). Bully/victim problems among school children: Basic facts and effects of a school-based intervention program. In D. Peppler & K. Rubin (Eds.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression. Hillsdale: Lawrence Earlbaum.Google Scholar
  50. Olweus, D. (1993). Victimization by peers: Antecedents and long-term outcomes. In K. H. Rubin, J. B. Asendorpf, K. H. Rubin, & J. B. Asendorpf (Eds.), Social withdrawal, inhibition, and shyness in childhood (pp. 315–341). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  51. Olweus, D. (1996). The revised Olweus bully/victim questionnaire. Bergen: Research Center for Health Promotion (HEMIL Center), University of Bergen.Google Scholar
  52. Olweus, D. (1999). Sweden. In P.K. Smith, Y. Morita, J., Junger-Tas, D., Olweus, R. Catalano, and P. Slee (Eds.) The nature of school bullying: A cross-national perspective (pp. 2–27). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  53. Peduzzi, P., Concato, J., Kemper, E., Holford, T. R., & Feinstein, A. R. (1996). A simulation study of the number of events per variable in logistic regression analysis. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 49, 1373–1379. doi: 10.1016/S0895-4356(96)00236-3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Pelligrini, A. D., & Long, J. D. (2002). A longitudinal study of bullying, dominance, and victimization during the transition from primary school through secondary school. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 20, 259–280. doi: 10.1348/026151002166442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pepler, D., Jiang, D., Craig, W., & Connolly, J. (2008). Developmental trajectories of bullying and associated factors. Child Development, 79, 325–338. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01128.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Reijntjes, A., Kamphuis, J. H., Prinzie, P., & Telch, M. J. (2010). Peer victimization and internalizing problems in children: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Child Abuse and Neglect, 34, 244–252. doi: 0.1016/j.chiabu.2009.07.009.
  57. Rudolph, K. D., Troop-Gordon, W., Hessel, E. T., & Schmidt, J. D. (2011). A latent growth curve analysis of early and increasing peer victimization as predictors of mental health across elementary school. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 40, 111–122. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2011.533413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ryoo, J. H., Wang, C., & Swearer, S. (2015). Examination of the change in latent statuses in bullying behaviors over time. School Psychology Quarterly, 30, 105–122. doi: 10.1037/spq0000082.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Sawyer, A. L., Bradshaw, C. P., & O’Brennan, L. M. (2008). Examining ethnic, gender, and developmental differences in the way children report being a victim of “bullying” on self-report measures. Journal of Adolescent Health, 43, 106–114. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.12.011.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Sontag, L. M., Graber, J. A., & Clemans, K. H. (2011). The role of peer stress and pubertal timing on symptoms of psychopathology in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 1371–1382. doi: 10.1007/s10964-010-9620-8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. Troop-Gordon, W. (2017). Peer victimization in adolescence: The nature, progression, and consequences of being bullied within a developmental context. Journal of Adolescence, 55, 116–128. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.12.012.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Vaillancourt, T., McDougall, P., Hymel, S., Krygsman, A., Miller, J., Stiver, K., & Davis, C. (2008). Bullying: Are researchers and children/youth talking about the same thing? International Journal of Behavioral Development, 32, 502–511. doi: 10.1177/0165025408095553.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vaillancourt, T., Trinh, V., McDougall, P., Duku, E., Cunningham, L., Cunningham, C., et al. (2010). Optimizing population screening of bullying in school-aged children. Journal of School Violence, 9, 233–250. doi: 10.1080/15388220.2010.483182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vaillancourt, T., Brittain, H. L., McDougall, P., & Duku, E. (2013). Longitudinal links between childhood peer victimization, internalizing and externalizing problems, and academic functioning: Developmental cascades. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41, 1203–1215. doi: 10.1007/s10802-013-9781-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Velicer, W. F., Martin, R. A., & Collins, L. M. (1996). Latent transition analysis for longitudinal data. Addiction, 91 (Supplement), S197-S209. doi: 10.1046/j.1360-0443.91.12s1.10.x.
  66. Volk, A. A., Camilleri, J. A., Dane, A. V., & Marini, Z. (2012). Is adolescent bullying an evolutionary adaptation? Aggressive Behavior, 38, 222–238. doi: 0.1002/ab.21418.
  67. Wang, J., Iannotti, R. J., Luk, J. W., & Nansel, T. R. (2010). Co-occurrence of victimization from five subtypes of bullying: Physical, verbal, social exclusion, spreading rumors, and cyber. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35, 1103–1112. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsq048.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Counselling Psychology, Faculty of EducationUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.School of Psychology, Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and The Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations