Peer victimization and mental health during early adolescence

Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
Theory Into Practice (Impact Factor: 0.54). 04/2007; 46:138-146. DOI: 10.1080/00405840701233081

ABSTRACT In this article, the authors describe recent re-search on peer victimization and its mental health consequences during early adolescence. They begin with a working definition of peer victim-ization that distinguishes it from lethal school violence and from simple conflict between peers. They then present a psychosocial profile of youth who are chronic victims of harassment, with a particular focus on their mental health chal-lenges. To aid the understanding of the plight of victims, the authors contrast their profiles with those of bullies and with those of adolescents who have characteristics of both bullies and victims. Some unanswered questions in the peer victim- ization literature are then considered, such as whether there are gender and ethnic differences in the experience of victimization and the stability of victim status. The article concludes with a dis-cussion of implications for both school-wide and targeted interventions to reduce victimization and with suggestions to teachers for concrete actions they can take to promote a safer environment for their students.

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