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J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2011;40(1):111-22. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2011.533413.

A latent growth curve analysis of early and increasing peer victimization as predictors of mental health across elementary school.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL 61820, USA.


Peer victimization has been implicated as a traumatic stressor that compromises children's long-term mental health, yet a dearth of prospective research documents lasting effects of early victimization. This study examined whether early (2nd grade) and increasing (2nd-5th grade) victimization predicted 5th grade depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior. Children (238 girls, 195 boys) reported on victimization and depressive symptoms; teachers reported on victimization and aggressive behavior. Latent growth curve analysis revealed that early and increasing victimization made unique contributions to depressive symptoms and aggressive behavior. Relational aggression was particularly likely to follow victimization in girls. This study reveals that victimization contributes to mental health over an extended period and elucidates the role of early versus increasing victimization, supporting the need for programs to prevent the pernicious mental health consequences of victimization.

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