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J Adolesc. 2012 Aug;35(4):1069-80. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.02.014. Epub 2012 Mar 29.

The protective role of supportive friends against bullying perpetration and victimization.

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School of Social Work, University of British Columbia, 2080 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z2.


A crossed-lagged regression model was tested to investigate relationships between friendship support, bullying involvement, and its consequences during adolescence. Students, 12-16 years (N = 880), were administered questionnaires twice, one year apart. Using structural equation modeling, a model was specified and higher levels of support from friends were related to lower levels of bullying and victimization one year later. Additionally, a bidirectional relationship between victimization and depression was found, and greater property crimes commission was related to higher levels of future bullying. These findings support the 'friendship protection hypothesis' and suggest the quality of support in friendships can protect against bullying victimization and perpetration. Prior research has shown that friendships can protect against victimization; however this is one of the few longitudinal studies to focus on the quality of friendship, rather than other characteristics of the friends. It is suggested that interventions should focus on increasing perceptions of support within existing friendships.

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