Development of Cognitive Diatheses for Depression Subsequent to Peer Victimization: Moderation by Age and Gender
Roeder, Kathryn Mary
The link between the experience of peer victimization (PV) and future psychological maladjustment, particularly depressive symptoms, has been consistently documented; however, little is known about intermediary cognitive processes that underlie this relation, or how these processes vary across childhood. The present study examined the prospective relations between physical and relational PV and the development of cognitive diatheses for depression. Self-reports of cognitions and peer nomination measures of victimization were obtained from 1692 children and young adolescents (grades 3 through 6) in a two-wave longitudinal study. Results revealed that PV predicted increases in negative self-cognitions and decreases in most measures of positive self-cognitions for girls under 11 years of age, with the effect being stronger for younger girls. There was no consistent relation between PV and changes in self-cognition for boys. These findings support the hypothesis that PV may be linked to future psychopathology through its influence on cognitive risk factors, but only for girls.