UBC Theses and Dissertations
The role of peer preference and friendship in the development of bullying and peer victimization in children Jia, Rui Mary
Past literature shows that having behavioural problems, being disliked by peers (low peer preference), and being without friends (friendlessness) are all factors that place children at high risk for peer victimization and bullying. However, few studies have examined the unique contributions of peer preference and friendship to bullying and peer victimization as well as how bullying behaviours develop in children with behavioural problems. Thus, the specific roles of high peer preference and friendship in protecting against being victimized by peers and bullying peers, especially in children with behavioural problems, remain largely unknown. The present study investigated the relationship between behavioural problems and various peer problems in school-aged children, specifically how internalizing and externalizing behaviours lead to and interact with low peer preference and friendlessness to increase risk for bullying and peer victimization. The sample consisted of 24 children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and 113 typically developing children who were previously unacquainted and attending a 2-week summer camp program. Behavioural problems, low peer preference and friendship, and bullying and peer victimization were measured before the summer program, at the end of the first week of camp, and at the end of the second week of camp, respectively. Results indicated that: (a) peer preference is an important mediator in the relationship between behavioural problems and bullying; (b) both peer preference and friendship can protect against bullying and peer victimization in children with behavioural problems; and (c) significant gender differences exist such that friendship and high peer preference were predominantly found to be protective factors in boys, but not girls.
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