Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

The Relationships of Family and Classroom Environments with Peer Relational Victimization: An Analysis of Their Gender Differences

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

The Relationships of Family and Classroom Environments with Peer Relational Victimization: An Analysis of Their Gender Differences

Article excerpt

This study analyzes the relationships of adolescents' perceptions of their family and classroom environments with peer relational victimization, taking into account that these relationships could be mediated by adolescents' self-esteem, feelings of loneliness, and sociometric status. These relationships, and their possible gender differences, were analyzed in a sample of 1319 Spanish adolescents (48% boys and 52% girls), ages 11 to 16 years (M = 13.7, SD = 1.5). A structural equation modeling was calculated for boys and girls separately. The findings suggested that the adolescents' self-esteem, loneliness, and sociometric status had a significant direct effect on peer relational victimization for boys, and adolescents' loneliness and sociometric status for girls. Their perceptions of family and classroom environments had a significant indirect effect on peer relational victimization for boys and girls, but the paths were different. Overall, findings suggested that a negative classroom environment had a more relevant effect in relational victimization for boys.

Keywords: family environment, classroom environment, peer relational victimization, gender differences.

Este estudio analiza las relaciones entre las percepciones que los adolescentes tienen de su clima familiar y escolar y la victimización relacional entre iguales, teniendo en cuenta que estas relaciones pueden estar mediadas por la autoestima, los sentimientos de soledad y el estatus sociométrico de los adolescentes. Estas relaciones, y sus posibles diferencias de género, fueron analizadas en una muestra de 1319 adolescentes españoles (48% chicos y 52% chicas) con edades comprendidas entre los 11 y los 16 años (M = 13.7, DT = 1.5). Un mismo modelo de ecuaciones estructurales fue calculado de forma separada para chicos y chicas. Los resultados sugirieron efectos directos significativos de la autoestima, la soledad y el estatus sociométrico de los adolescentes en la victimización relacional para los chicos, y de la soledad y el estatus sociométrico para las chicas. Las percepciones de los adolescentes del clima familiar y del clima escolar mostraron efectos indirectos significativos en la victimización relacional para chicos y chicas, pero las trayectorias eran diferentes. En general, los resultados sugirieron que para los chicos un clima escolar negativo tenía un efecto más relevante en la victimización relacional.

Palabras clave: ambiente famililar, ambiente escolar, victimización relacional entre iguales, diferencias por género.

In last few decades, increasing research has been done on bullying and victimization and surveys have been conducted in many countries around the world, all showing that a significant number of children and adolescents are victimized by their peers (Del Rey & Ortega, 2008; Eslea et al.,2004).

Peer victimization has been defined as, "The experience among children of being a target of the aggressive behavior of other children, who are not siblings and not necessarily age-mates" (Hawker & Boulton, 2000, p.441) and has been associated with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, loneliness, common health symptoms, and school absenteeism (Boivin, Hymel, & Bukowski, 1995; Egan & Perry, 1998; Hodges, Malone, & Perry, 1997; Hodges & Perry, 1999; Schwartz, Gorman, Nakamoto, & Toblin, 2005). The recognition of the serious negative consequences that peer victimization may have for victims' well-being has prompted researchers to investigate the factors that could increase the probability of being maltreated by peers. In these studies, it has been suggested that some social adjustment difficulties could increase the probability of victimization (e.g., Fox & Boulton, 2006). Garandeau and Cillesen (2006) have described the victimization like a social process and have highlighted the tendency of bullies to choose easy targets. So, children and adolescents with low self-esteem, low sociometric status and high feelings of loneliness could have more probability of being victimized by their peers. …

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