Monday, December 4, 2017
Scarfe Room 308, 2:00pm
Supervisor: Dr. Shelley Hymel (HDLC)
Supervisory Committee: Dr. Amery Wu (MERM), Dr. Allison Cloth (SCPS), and Dr. Daniel Cox (CNPS)
Title: Victimization and Internalizing Difficulties: The Moderating Role of Social Support
Children and adolescents who are targets of peer victimization experience many negative developmental outcomes, including depression and anxiety, which can have lasting effects throughout their lives. Researchers have sought to identify protective factors that lessen the negative impact of peer victimization on wellbeing. Social support has been identified as one of the most significant protective factors. Studies that examine the effect of social support from multiple sources on the wellbeing of students who are victimized by their peers have reported mixed results. The present research addressed these inconsistent findings by extending the aspects of social support that are measured to include both source and type. This study sought to answer three questions: (1) Does overall social support (regardless of type) from a) parents, b) teachers, c) classmates and d) close friends moderate the relation between overall victimization and depression and/or anxiety? (2) Does the type of social support provided (emotional, informational, appraisal and/or instrumental support) moderate the relation between victimization and depression and/or anxiety? (3) Does overall social support (regardless of type) from a) parents, b) teachers, c) classmates and/or d) close friends moderate the relation between different forms of victimization (verbal, social, physical and cyber) and depression and/or anxiety?
Participants were 720 students in grades 4-7 who completed self-report measures of victimization experiences at school, perceived social support, and a screening index for depression and anxiety. Multiple regression analyses with predictors entered in blocks were run to explore the moderating role of social support in the relation between victimization and depression and/or anxiety. Results indicate that certain sources and types of social support moderate the relation between victimization and depression/anxiety, while other sources and types of social support are associated with higher depression/anxiety among 4th-7th graders. This held true when considering both overall victimization and various forms of victimization. Results suggest that the moderating role of social support in the relation between victimization-depression and victimization-anxiety are distinct; when exploring the impact of social support from peers at school, classmates and close friends should be treated as distinct groups; social support from parents can have a positive impact on 4th-7th graders.