Publication Date

2014-07-29

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2016-07-28

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2014-05-16

First Committee Member

Annette M. La Greca

Second Committee Member

Amanda Jensen Doss

Third Committee Member

Neena Malik

Abstract

Peer victimization (PV) is a common stressor in adolescence linked to various mental health outcomes. However, scant research has focused on how adolescents cope with PV This study examined the prevalence and types of coping strategies adolescents use in response to traditional and cyber PV, whether youth’s gender and aggressor status accounted for differences in coping strategy usage, and unique associations between PV types and coping strategies. Participants were 855 adolescents aged 13-19 years (M = 15.81; SD=1.21; 58% female; 74% Hispanic), from two Miami-Dade County public high schools. Adolescents completed the Revised Peer Experiences Questionnaire, Cyber – Peer Experiences Questionnaire, and the Dealing with Peer Experiences questionnaire Results revealed that denial was the most common coping response employed, followed by active, aggressive, and ruminative coping. Use of certain coping strategies differed by gender and by aggressor status. Both traditional and cyber PV differentially predicted an increased odds of using coping strategies, but youth’s aggressor status affected those predictions. Findings can be used to inform efforts to prevent or intervene in PV. Results add to growing literature on adolescent PV, and represent an empirical foundation for understanding how adolescents cope with a stressor as salient as PV. Future studies should focus on directly linking PV types to coping responses as well as incorporate a longitudinal model that will elaborate the relationship between PV, adolescent coping, and adjustment over time.

Keywords

Peer victimization; coping; cyber victimization; coping; adolescents

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