Hawker, David Sidney James (1997) Socioemotional maladjustment among victims of different forms of peer aggression. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Introduction. Peer victimisation among children is the experience of being a target of other children's aggressive behaviour. Three forms of victimisation - physical, subordinal, and relational - are defined with reference to social rank theory (Gilbert, 1992). This thesis aims to explore the nature of the relationship between these forms of victimisation and socioemotional maladjustment, which includes feelings of depression, loneliness, anxiety, low self-esteem and low social acceptance. Its results are interpreted in the context of social rank theory.

Method. Victimisation and socioemotional maladjustment, of the forms indicated above, were assessed in a short-term longitudinal prospective study of 177 British school children, in two age groups (initially aged between eight and nine, and between eleven and twelve years). The same variables (with the exception of social acceptance) were measured again at follow-up ten months later.

Results. Victimisation, particularly if assessed by self report, was positively related to concurrent and future socioemotional distress, and primarily to depressed mood. Between baseline and follow-up, early victimisation led to increasing depression, and early socioemotional distress led to increasing victimisation. All these relationships between victimisation and distress were stronger for psychological (relational and subordinal) than for physical victimisation. There was limited evidence that psychological victimisation was more strongly related to distress among older than younger children, but no evidence for sex differences.

Conclusion. A new cyclical model is presented to account for the maintenance of peer victimisation. The model proposes that psychological victimisation causes increasing depression and general socioemotional distress for children. Their emotional distress makes them socially withdrawn and submissive, which makes them an easy target for subordinal and relational aggression, and so victimisation and distress are exacerbated. Physical victimisation is not strongly implicated in the cycle, although it is suggested that it is another possible consequence of psychological victimisation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: This electronic version of the thesis has been edited solely to ensure compliance with copyright legislation and excluded material is referenced in the text. The full, final, examined and awarded version of the thesis is available for consultation in hard copy via the University Library.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Contributors: Boulton, Mike (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2020 12:30
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2020 12:30
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/9015

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