Social and Physical Victimization in Elementary and Middle School as Correlates of Anxiety and Depression
Warner, Sally J.
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Social aggression, hurting others by damaging their self-esteem or social status, is still a relatively unexplored, though important, area of psychology. This type of behavior is particularly prominent in girls, though it is also found among boys, and has been linked to social-psychological adjustment problems in both aggressors and victims. The present study examines the relationship between social and physical victimization and two internalizing symptoms, anxious depression and withdrawn depression. Following a longitudinal model, a total of 260 students completed self-report measures of victimization and concurrent life satisfaction in fourth and sixth grades. Sixth-grade teachers completed reports of their students' depressive symptoms. Results indicated that boys experience more physical victimization, but there were no gender differences in social victimization. Rates of both social and physical victimization dropped between fourth and sixth grade. Among the whole sample, both social and physical victimization were related to less happiness in school and overall, as well as to both anxious and withdrawn depression. For boys, however, only the rate of prosocial treatment seemed to have a negative effect on concurrent happiness or future adjustment, with boys who received fewer prosocial acts reporting less happiness and more depression.