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.