Presentation Title

Differential Effects of Gender Identity and Social Withdrawal on Peer Victimization

Advisor Information

Jonathan Santo

Location

UNO Criss Library, Room 231

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

2-3-2018 2:15 PM

End Date

2-3-2018 2:30 PM

Abstract

Introduction: The importance of peer relationships is especially prevalent during adolescence (Rubin, Bukowski, & Laursen, 2009). Negative peer relations, such as peer victimization, are related to poor outcomes. Children who are withdrawn are at greater risk of victimization (Hodges & Perry, 1999), as are children considered to be atypical of their gender (Toomey, Card, & Casper, 2014). The current study examined predictors of peer victimization among early adolescents in the context of a multilevel longitudinal model.

Methods: Participants were 181 early adolescents in the fifth and sixth grades from Montreal, Canada (Mage = 10.67, SD = .55; 47.50% female). Participants completed 13 questionnaires at different times throughout the school year. Scores for peer victimization (αT1 = .84; αT2 = .87) and social withdrawal (αT1 = .92, αT2 = .85) were obtained from peer nominations at two time-points. Gender typicality and atypicality were measured at a single time point using two items (e.g., “Who in your class acts like a girl?” and “Who in your class acts like a boy?”). The number of nominations by same-sex peers was divided by the size of the same-sex peer group to calculate scores for each. Felt pressure to conform to gender norms (α = .84), intergroup biases (α = .72), and gender contentment (α = .90) were self-reported at a single time-point.

Multilevel modeling was used to account for nonindependence as well as the nested nature of the data. Peer victimization was the within-subjects dependent variable and social withdrawal was the within-subjects independent variable. Gender typicality and atypicality, felt pressure, intergroup biases, and gender contentment were considered as between-subjects independent variables. Differences at the level of the same-sex peer group were also considered.

Results: Withdrawal was significantly, positively associated with victimization, and this association grew stronger over the course of the school year. There was a significant three-way interaction at the within-subjects level between time, withdrawal, and atypicality (Figure 1). Specifically, the effect of time on victimization was positive but weak for participants low in atypicality, regardless of withdrawal. The effect of time on victimization was strong and positive for those high in withdrawal and low in atypicality, but strong and negative for those high in withdrawal and high in atypicality. An interaction between withdrawal, pressure, and typicality also emerged in the between-subjects level of the model (Figure 2). Specifically, the effect of withdrawal on victimization was positive overall, but strongest for participants who were perceived by their peers to be high in typicality and who felt high pressure to conform. The nested effects of the same-sex peer group were also examined.

Conclusions: The present study explores the effects of social withdrawal on peer victimization among early adolescents. Specifically, peers’ perceptions of gender typicality as well as self-reports of aspects of gender identity were found to affect the relationship between social withdrawal and victimization. The findings presented here are indicative of the important role that various aspects of gender identity and conformity play in peer relations.

COinS
 
Mar 2nd, 2:15 PM Mar 2nd, 2:30 PM

Differential Effects of Gender Identity and Social Withdrawal on Peer Victimization

UNO Criss Library, Room 231

Introduction: The importance of peer relationships is especially prevalent during adolescence (Rubin, Bukowski, & Laursen, 2009). Negative peer relations, such as peer victimization, are related to poor outcomes. Children who are withdrawn are at greater risk of victimization (Hodges & Perry, 1999), as are children considered to be atypical of their gender (Toomey, Card, & Casper, 2014). The current study examined predictors of peer victimization among early adolescents in the context of a multilevel longitudinal model.

Methods: Participants were 181 early adolescents in the fifth and sixth grades from Montreal, Canada (Mage = 10.67, SD = .55; 47.50% female). Participants completed 13 questionnaires at different times throughout the school year. Scores for peer victimization (αT1 = .84; αT2 = .87) and social withdrawal (αT1 = .92, αT2 = .85) were obtained from peer nominations at two time-points. Gender typicality and atypicality were measured at a single time point using two items (e.g., “Who in your class acts like a girl?” and “Who in your class acts like a boy?”). The number of nominations by same-sex peers was divided by the size of the same-sex peer group to calculate scores for each. Felt pressure to conform to gender norms (α = .84), intergroup biases (α = .72), and gender contentment (α = .90) were self-reported at a single time-point.

Multilevel modeling was used to account for nonindependence as well as the nested nature of the data. Peer victimization was the within-subjects dependent variable and social withdrawal was the within-subjects independent variable. Gender typicality and atypicality, felt pressure, intergroup biases, and gender contentment were considered as between-subjects independent variables. Differences at the level of the same-sex peer group were also considered.

Results: Withdrawal was significantly, positively associated with victimization, and this association grew stronger over the course of the school year. There was a significant three-way interaction at the within-subjects level between time, withdrawal, and atypicality (Figure 1). Specifically, the effect of time on victimization was positive but weak for participants low in atypicality, regardless of withdrawal. The effect of time on victimization was strong and positive for those high in withdrawal and low in atypicality, but strong and negative for those high in withdrawal and high in atypicality. An interaction between withdrawal, pressure, and typicality also emerged in the between-subjects level of the model (Figure 2). Specifically, the effect of withdrawal on victimization was positive overall, but strongest for participants who were perceived by their peers to be high in typicality and who felt high pressure to conform. The nested effects of the same-sex peer group were also examined.

Conclusions: The present study explores the effects of social withdrawal on peer victimization among early adolescents. Specifically, peers’ perceptions of gender typicality as well as self-reports of aspects of gender identity were found to affect the relationship between social withdrawal and victimization. The findings presented here are indicative of the important role that various aspects of gender identity and conformity play in peer relations.