Peer Harassment in School: The Plight of the Vulnerable and Victimized

By Jaana Juvonen; Sandra Graham | Go to book overview

8

Relational Victimization in
Childhood and Adolescence:
IHurt You through the Grapevine

NICKI R. CRICK, DAVID A. NELSON,
JULIE R. MORALES, CRYSTAL CULLERTON-SEN,
JUAN F. CASAS, and SUSAN E. HICKMAN

Sylvia usually feels pretty good about herself, but lately her friends at
school have been acting a little strangely toward her. When she goes to
sit with them in the cafeteria at lunch, everyone stops talking. When
she passes people in the hall, she hears them whispering behind their
hands. And then just yesterday she overheard someone saying that
Mindy was having a birthday party, and she hasn't been invited. What
Sylvia doesn't know is that Mindy has been spreading gossip about her
to their mutual friends ever since Sylvia beat her out for the lead in the
school play. Sylvia struggles to figure out why her friends are acting so
weird, but one thing she does know for sure is that whatever the rea-
son, it is making her feel really sad.

As the existence of this volume attests, empirical interest in peer harassment has increased significantly during the past decade. Recently, investigators have turned their attention away from a singular focus on children who perpetrate aggressive acts, to also include those who are the frequent targets of peers' aggressive strategies. Several forms of peer victimization have been studied to date (e.g., physical harassment, verbal intimidation); however, in this chapter we focus specifically on relational victimization. Research on relational victimization initially emerged because of an interest

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