Abstract: Adolescent Patterns of Peer Victimization: Concurrent and Longitudinal Health Correlates (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

54 Adolescent Patterns of Peer Victimization: Concurrent and Longitudinal Health Correlates

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Megan Ames, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Bonnie Leadbeater, Ph.D., Professor, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Gabriel "Joey" Merrin, Ph.D., Graduate Student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL
Clea Sturgess, MA, Doctoral Student, Unviersity of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Alejandra Contreras, Bsc, Research Assistant, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
Introduction: Considerable research demonstrates associations between physical and relational peer victimization and aspects of both mental and physical health in adolescence (Casper & Card, 2017; McDougall & Vaillancourt, 2015). Results show consistent findings relating peer victimization to poorer concurrent mental health symptoms (e.g., internalizing and externalizing symptoms; Casper & Card, 2017), higher risk of physical symptoms (Gini & Pozzoli, 2013), and lower health perception (Bogart et al., 2014.) Yet there is limited understanding of how heterogeneity in adolescent victimization experiences (i.e., based on severity and type) contributes to health problems both within adolescence and in young adulthood. In this study, we examine how different patterns of adolescent experiences of peer victimization are associated with concurrent and longitudinal mental health, substance use, and physical health.

Method: Data come from a randomly recruited community-based sample of youth (T1 ages 12 to 18; N = 662; 52% female) followed biennially across ten years (T6 ages 22 to 29; n = 478; 55% female). Four classes of adolescent peer victimization (Low victimization-63%, Physical victimization only-15%, Relational victimization only -17%, and Poly-victimization-6%) were identified using latent class analysis. Peer victimization was assessed using the Social experiences Questionnaire (Crick & Grotpeter, 1996). Indicators of health included multiple domains: mental health (i.e., internalizing and externalizing symptoms), substance use (i.e., smoking, heavy drinking, marijuana use, and illicit drug use), and physical health (i.e., subjective health, health-promoting behaviors, and cardiometabolic risks). Multinomial logistic regression was used to assess concurrent class differences on health indicators and linear regression was used to assess longitudinal effects on health indicators.

Results: Youth in the Poly-victimization class reported the most detrimental health consequences in adolescence (e.g., internalizing and externalizing symptoms, illicit drug use, physical symptoms, poor physical self-concept, physical activity) and in young adulthood (e.g., depressive symptoms, sleep problems). Youth in the Relational and Physical victimization classes also reported health problems, some of which persisted into young adulthood. Youth in the Low victimization class reported the fewest health concerns.

Conclusion: Our findings highlight the accompanying physical health problems which may contribute to and further exacerbate mental health consequences of peer victimization.The creation, development, and evaluation of evidence-based programs to help support youth to escape or intervene in peer victimization experiences are promoted.