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The current 3-wave study examined bidirectional associations between peer victimization and functions of aggression across informants over a 1-year period in middle childhood, with attention to potential gender differences. Participants included 198 children (51% girls) in the third and fourth grades and their homeroom teachers. Peer victimization was assessed using both child- and teacher-reports, and teachers provided ratings of reactive and proactive aggression. Cross-classified multilevel cross-lagged models indicated that child-reports, but not teacher-reports, of peer victimization predicted higher levels of reactive aggression within and across academic years. Further, reactive aggression predicted subsequent increases in child- and teacher-reports of peer victimization across each wave of data. Several gender differences, particularly in the crossed paths between proactive aggression and peer victimization, also emerged. Whereas peer victimization was found to partially account for the stability of reactive aggression over time, reactive aggression did not account for the stability of peer victimization. Taken together with previous research, the current findings suggest that child-reports of peer victimization may help identify youth who are risk for exhibiting increased reactive aggression over time. Further, they highlight the need to target reactively aggressive behavior for the prevention of peer victimization in middle childhood.
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- Bidirectional Associations between Peer Victimization and Functions of Aggression in Middle Childhood: Further Evaluation across Informants and Academic Years
John L. Cooley
Paula J. Fite
Casey A. Pederson
- Springer US