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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Victimization, social support, and well-being in middle childhood : a population level analysis Gill, Randip


Peer victimization in schools has been shown to have pervasive and enduring harmful effects on the well-being and psychological adjustment of children. Elucidating protective factors that may buffer children against the harmful effects of victimization is an important area of research. Social support, from peers or from adults such as parents or teachers, has been identified as one potential mitigating factor against detrimental developmental outcomes for victimized children. The present research explored the relationships among victimization, social support from peers and adults, and well-being outcomes in two age groups in middle childhood. Specifically, this study aimed to answer the question: Do victimized and non-victimized, grade 4 and grade 7 students differ in satisfaction with life, sadness and/or worries as a function of the availability of peer and adult support, and do these relationships vary by sex? A sample of over 36,000 grade 4 students and over 21,000 grade 7 students completed a self-report survey assessing their experience with victimization, available support from both peers and adults, their feelings of sadness and worries and their satisfaction with life. From these samples, a subsample of students were identified who were highly victimized or not victimized and who reported having high or low peer and adult support. Univariate analyses of variance were then conducted to explore the moderating direct and interacting role of social support and sex in the relationship between victimization and reported satisfaction with life, sadness, and worries. Replicating previous findings, the present study found that both higher adult support and higher peer support were associated with more positive well-being outcomes, and that victimization was associated with negative well-being outcomes. Main effects of peer support existed nearly universally for each outcome of satisfaction with life, sadness, and worries, at both grade 4 and grade 7, though the main effect of   adult support was present only for life satisfaction and sadness. The hypothesized moderation of victimization and well-being outcomes by adult and peer support was not found. These results present the additive associations of peer support and adult support with the well-being outcomes for both non-victimized and victimized schoolchildren at middle childhood.

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