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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2010 Oct;51(10):1141-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02253.x.

Psychosocial mediators and moderators of the effect of peer-victimization upon depressive symptomatology.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Strathclyde, UK. simon.hunter@strath.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

  Intervention strategies and developmental models of stress have been criticized for failing to integrate social psychological variables. This study investigates both self-referential cognitive mediators (perceived threat and control) and a social psychological moderator (ethnic/religious identity) of the effect of peer-victimization upon depressive symptomatology.

METHODS:

  Self-report questionnaires were completed by 924 students (46% female), aged 8 to 12 years. Experiences of discriminatory and non-discriminatory peer-victimization, threat and control appraisals, depressive symptoms, and strength of main identity were assessed.

RESULTS:

  Perceived threat partially mediated the effect of peer-victimization (regardless of whether it was discriminatory or not) on depressive symptoms. Perceived control partially mediated the effect of non-discriminatory peer-victimization on depressive symptoms. Strength of ethnic/religious identity buffered the effect of peer-victimization on depressive symptoms. Victimization perceived to be discriminatory in nature was more strongly associated with depressive symptoms than non-discriminatory victimization.

CONCLUSIONS:

  Findings support calls for a greater emphasis to be placed on social psychological variables in explaining depressive symptomatology. For clinical, counseling and intervention purposes, it is important to examine whether victims perceive peer-victimization as discriminatory and whether their own strength of identity affects symptomatology.

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