Journal article Open Access
The present study builds upon previous research that suggests that longitudinal relationships between victimisation and negative psychosocial outcomes, as well as between psychosocial maladjustment and the consequential experience of peer victimisation, may be moderated by social or interpersonal factors. Participants were assessed on measures of four negative personal factors (aggression/depression, withdrawal, aggression, and lack of physical strength); four interpersonal factors (peer acceptance, peer rejection, number of reciprocated best friends, and number of reciprocated enemies); victimisation and negative psychosocial outcomes, as well as between psychosocial maladjustment and the consequential experience of peer victimisation. As expected, interpersonal factors moderated many of the longitudinal associations between the personal factors and victimisation. Most notably, victimisation predicted increase in internalising behaviours (anxiety/depression and withdrawal) only under higher levels of peer rejection and number of reciprocated enemies, and lower levels of peer acceptance. Additionally, anxiety/depression predicted increase in victimisation over time, again only under high levels of the negative interpersonal factors. These results underscore the importance of recognising social contextual factors that promote the cyclical relationship between peer victimisation and psychosocial maladjustment.