Development and Psychopathology



Peer group victimization as a predictor of children's behavior problems at home and in school


DAVID SCHWARTZ a1, STEVEN A. MCFADYEN–KETCHUM a1, KENNETH A. DODGE a1c1, GREG S. PETTIT a2 and JOHN E. BATES a3
a1 Vanderbilt University
a2 Auburn University
a3 Indiana University

Abstract

This study reports a short-term prospective investigation of the role of peer group victimization in the development of children's behavior problems, at home and in school. Sociometric interviews were utilized to assess aggression, victimization by peers, and peer rejection, for 330 children who were in either the third or fourth grade (approximate mean ages of 8–9 years old). Behavior problems were assessed using standardized behavior checklists completed by mothers and teachers. A follow-up assessment of behavior problems was completed 2 years later, when the children were in either the fifth or sixth grade (approximate mean ages of 10–11 years old). Victimization was both concurrently and prospectively associated with externalizing, attention dysregulation, and immature/dependent behavior. Victimization also predicted increases in these difficulties over time, and incremented the prediction in later behavior problems associated with peer rejection and aggression. The results of this investigation demonstrate that victimization in the peer group is an important predictor of later behavioral maladjustment.


Correspondence:
c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: K. Dodge, Box 86 GPC, Nashville, TN 37203.