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The roles of behavioral adjustment and conceptions of peers and emotions in preschool children's peer victimization

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 January 2007

George Mason University
Western Kentucky University


Ninety-four low- and middle-income preschoolers (48 boys, 46 girls) were recruited from two sites in a large southwestern city. Children's positive attributions of peer intent, social problem-solving decisions, and attributions of peers' feelings about the provocation were evaluated from individual interviews. In addition, children's anger perception accuracy and their global emotion situation knowledge were assessed. Teachers and their assistants reported on the children's social competence, internalizing and externalizing behavior, and the degree to which children were physically and relationally victimized. Social competence was a negative predictor of relational and physical victimization, and externalizing behavior was a positive predictor of both types of victimization. Anger perception accuracy was negatively related to physical victimization, and global emotion situation knowledge and attributions of sorrow to provoking peers were positive predictors. Results support a conceptual framework that emphasizes the importance of social and emotion-related social cognitive variables for understanding young children's peer-related victimization.The authors thank the children and families for their participation and the preschool teachers for their cooperation. Thanks are also due to the many undergraduate and graduate students who helped with this research. Special thanks to Kimberly Estep and Courtney Hunter for their help with data collection and coding.

Research Article
© 2007 Cambridge University Press

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