A Reciprocal Model of Peer Victimization and Psychosocial Functioning

Date of Completion

January 2011


Psychology, Clinical




Peer victimization, consisting of overt and relational victimization, has been associated with psychosocial problems in many cross-sectional studies; however, less is known about the direction of this relationship. Longitudinal studies have found preliminary support for a reciprocal model. The current investigation examined a reciprocal model of peer victimization and psychosocial distress in 286 6th–11th grade students from an urban, ethnically diverse school. Self-report measures of overt and relational victimization, internalizing and externalizing problems, and anxiety were completed during two data collection sessions one year apart. Using structural equation modeling, it was found that peer victimization led to subsequent internalizing problems and that externalizing problems led to peer victimization one year later. Additionally, it was found that gender moderated the relationship between early peer victimization and later anxiety, as this relationship was only found for boys. The potential implications of theses findings for future research and intervention are discussed. ^