Category: Child / Adolescent - School-Related Issues
A growing body of research supports the relationship between bullying perpetration roles, including bullies or bully-victims, and negative clinical outcomes related to anxiety. Experiences of anxiety are particularly unique to bullying roles, such that a complicated history of peer victimization and bullying may be a diathesis-stress for clinical anxiety. This study examined whether perceived competence mediated the relationship between bullying roles and anxiety.
One-hundred and sixty-two participants between the ages of 7-15 years were referred for bullying behaviors and participated in the Target Bullying Intervention Program (T-BIP), which utilizes a cognitive-behavioral approach to change bullying behavior. During the intervention, the participants completed the Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPERC) and the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC). SPERC is used to obtain a multidimensional evaluation of self-worth across specific academic and behavioral domains. The MASC is used as a self-report measure for symptoms of anxiety. The bootstrapping method of testing mediation was employed with 10,000 bootstrap samples. In the hypothetical model, the independent variable was bullying role (1=bully-victim; 2=bully), the mediator variable was mean SPERC score, and the dependent variable was the standardized MASC score. Bullying roles significantly predicted SPERC scores (b=.21, t(162)=2.74, pb=-5.75, t(161)=-3.30, pb=-9.89, t(162)=-5.75, pb=-8.71, t(161)=-5.10, p
These results add to current literature on how prior victimization experiences influence levels of anxiety. Children with a history of both peer victimization and bullying endorse low perceived competence, which might be related to the development of anxiety. These results suggest that bully-victims experience cognition-mediated anxiety, which has direct implications for intervention.