Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Among elementary-aged students, peer victimization is common and is associated with psychological maladjustment and poor academic achievement. Students with maladaptive social cognitions, like low social competence and low perceived control, are more likely to be victimized, but having a supportive teacher and/or a positive classroom climate might help to mitigate this association. This study aimed to answer the question of whether teacher support and classroom climate protect against peer victimization for students with maladaptive social cognitions. It was hypothesized that teacher support and classroom climate will separately moderate the link between social competence/perceived control and subsequent peer victimization such that children who report high levels of teacher support (or classroom climate) in the fall will have lower levels of peer victimization in the spring of that same school year. Among a sample of 231 3rd through 5th grade students from two Richmond-area elementary schools, those with low social competence in the fall were found to have increased levels of peer victimization in the spring. Furthermore, evidence was obtained for the moderating role of classroom climate such that at high levels of positive classroom climate, the association between social competence and peer victimization was no longer significant. This suggests that a positive classroom climate may act as a protective factor against peer victimization. It is important to determine factors that put children at risk for and that protect children from peer victimization to work towards future interventions aimed at helping students with maladaptive social cognitions.
Szarko, Katelyn, "Maladaptive Social Cognitions and Peer Victimization in Elementary-Aged Students" (2023). Honors Theses. 1712.