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Dev Psychol. 1999 Jan;35(1):94-101.

The power of friendship: protection against an escalating cycle of peer victimization.

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  • 1Ecole de Psychologie, Universit√© Laval, Quebec, Quebec, Canada. hodgese@stjohns.edu


This study examined 2 aspects of friendship (presence and perceived qualities of a best friend) as moderators of behavioral antecedents and outcomes of peer victimization. A total of 393 children (188 boys and 205 girls) in the 4th and 5th grades (mean age = 10 years 7 months) participated during each of 2 waves of data collection in this 1-year longitudinal study. Results indicated that teacher-reported internalizing and externalizing behaviors predicted increases in peer-reported victimization, but the relation of internalizing behaviors to increases in victimization was attenuated for children with a protective friendship. Victimization predicted increases in internalizing and externalizing behaviors but only for children without a mutual best friendship. Results highlight the importance of peer friendships in preventing an escalating cycle of peer abuse.

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