The impact of peer victimization on later maladjustment: mediating and moderating effects of hostile and self-blaming attributions. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Evidence indicates that being a victim of bullying or peer aggression has negative short- and long-term consequences. In this study, we investigated the mediating and moderating role of two types of attributional mechanisms (hostile and self-blaming attributions) on children's maladjustment (externalizing and internalizing problems). METHODS: In total, 478 children participated in this longitudinal study from grade 5 to grade 7. Children, parents, and teachers repeatedly completed questionnaires. Peer victimization was assessed through peer reports (T1). Attributions were assessed through self-reports using hypothetical scenarios (T2). Parents and teachers reported on children's maladjustment (T1 and T3). RESULTS: Peer victimization predicted increases in externalizing and internalizing problems. Hostile attributions partially mediated the impact of victimization on increases in externalizing problems. Self-blame was not associated with peer victimization. However, for children with higher levels of self-blaming attributions, peer victimization was linked more strongly with increases in internalizing problems. CONCLUSIONS: Results imply that hostile attributions may operate as a potential mechanism through which negative experiences with peers lead to increases in children's aggressive and delinquent behavior, whereas self-blame exacerbates victimization's effects on internalizing problems.

published proceedings

  • J Child Psychol Psychiatry

altmetric score

  • 5

author list (cited authors)

  • Perren, S., Ettekal, I., & Ladd, G.

citation count

  • 109

complete list of authors

  • Perren, Sonja||Ettekal, Idean||Ladd, Gary

publication date

  • January 2013