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Dev Psychol. 1998 Mar;34(2):299-309.

Does low self-regard invite victimization?

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Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton 33431, USA.


Two hypotheses were tested. The first was that low self-regard contributes over time to victimization by peers. The second was that behavioral vulnerabilities (e.g., physical weakness, manifest anxiety, poor social skills) are more likely to lead to victimization over time when children have low self-regard than when they are "self-protected" by healthy self-regard. Participants were 189 third-through 7th-grade boys and girls; data were collected in the fall and the spring of the school year. Both hypotheses were supported, especially when self-regard was assessed in terms of self-perceived peer social competence. In addition, the experience of being victimized led to diminished self-regard over time. Poor self-concept may play a central role in a vicious cycle that perpetuates and solidifies a child's status as a victim of peer abuse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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