Peer victimization trajectories and their association with children's affect in late elementary school

Bridget K. Biggs, Eric Vernberg, Todd D. Little, Edward J. Dill, Peter Fonagy, Stuart W. Twemlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The current study examined peer victimization trajectories for 1528 children from third to fifth grade and the association of those trajectories to children's positive and negative affect. On average, victimization was low to moderate and remained stable (self-report) or increased (peer-reports). In addition, five distinct trajectories were identified based on self-report: Low, Moderate, Increasing, Decreasing, and Chronic. Peer-reported victimization did not reveal distinct trajectories. Although the level of victimization was related to concurrent negative affect (self- and peer-reported victimization) and to positive affect (self-report victimization only), relations between change in victimization and change in affect were less consistent. Also, a chronic victimization trajectory was associated with greatest affective distress and a decreasing trajectory was associated with partial, but not full, recovery in terms of affect. Results largely support a chronic model of victimization's effects in which victimization has compounding and enduring effects on adjustment. Intervention implications include the importance of including selective interventions for highly victimized youth with universal anti-bullying programs, assessing both past and current victimization, and including indicators of adjustment when evaluating anti-bullying interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-146
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Affect
  • Bullying
  • Middle childhood
  • Peer influence
  • Trajectory analysis
  • Victimization


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