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18-09-2018 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 4/2019

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 4/2019

Depression, Anxiety, and Peer Victimization: Bidirectional Relationships and Associated Outcomes Transitioning from Childhood to Adolescence

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 4/2019
Miriam K. Forbes, Sally Fitzpatrick, Natasha R. Magson, Ronald M. Rapee


Experiences of depression, anxiety, and peer victimization have each been found to predict one another, and to predict negative outcomes in the domains of school connectedness, social functioning, quality of life, and physical health. However, the common co-occurrence of depression, anxiety, and peer victimization experiences has made it difficult to disentangle their unique roles in these associations. The present study thus sought to characterize the precise nature of the bidirectional relationships between depressive symptoms, anxiety, and victimization over time, and to examine their unique sequelae during the transition from childhood to early adolescence. Longitudinal multi-informant (child-reported, parent-reported, and teacher-reported) data from a nationally representative sample were analyzed using path analysis when the study child was aged 10–11 (n= 4169; Mage = 10.3; 48.8% female) and aged 12–13 (n= 3956; Mage = 12.4; 48.2% female). Depressive symptoms, anxiety, and peer victimization had small but significant unique bidirectional relationships. All three constructs also uniquely and prospectively predicted poorer life functioning across all domains examined. These results demonstrate that current interventions should broaden their scope to simultaneously target depression, anxiety, and peer victimization, as each of these experiences independently act as additive risk factors for subsequent negative outcomes.

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