Recent studies of peer victimization have demonstrated the importance of studying relational as well as physical forms of peer maltreatment for understanding children's social-psychological adjustment problems. Studies in this area have been limited thus far by a focus on school-age children (9–12-year olds). Given the significance of early identification of children's social difficulties for intervention and prevention efforts, this research was designed to assess relational and physical peer victimization among preschool-age children (3–5-year-olds). Results indicated that boys were significantly more physically victimized than girls whereas girls were more relationally victimized. Both relational and physical victims experienced greater adjustment problems than did their peers. Relational victimization contributed unique information about adjustment beyond that provided by physical victimization.
Crick, Nikki R.; Casas, Juan F.; and Ku, Hyon-Chin, "Relational and Physical Forms of Peer Victimization in Preschool" (1999). Psychology Faculty Publications. 87.