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Child and context characteristics in trajectories of physical and relational victimization among early elementary school children

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 January 2011

Gerald F. Giesbrecht
University of Victoria
Bonnie J. Leadbeater
University of Victoria
Stuart W. S. Macdonald
University of Victoria


Transactional models suggest that peer victimization results from both individual and context differences, and understanding these differences may point to important targets for prevention and interventions that reduce victimization. Multilevel modeling was used to examine within-person (aggression and emotional dysregulation), between-person (sex and age), and between-school (participation in a victimization prevention program) factors that influence changes in physical and relational victimization over the first three years of elementary school. Children (n = 423) reported their experiences of peer victimization at entry into Grade 1 and at the end of Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3. On average, trajectories of both physical and relational victimization declined. However, for individual children, teacher-rated aggression was associated with increases in physical and relational victimization, while emotional dysregulation was associated with attenuation of longitudinal declines in physical victimization and increases in relational victimization. Individual differences in sex and age at entry into Grade 1 did not significantly influence victimization trajectories over Grades 1 to 3. Children who participated in the WITS® victimization prevention program showed significant declines in physical and relational victimization. Levels of victimization among nonparticipants remained stable. Implications of child and context characteristics for preventing peer victimization in elementary school are discussed.

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Child and context characteristics in trajectories of physical and relational victimization among early elementary school children
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