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Journal Article

Citation

Berger C, Gremmen MC, Palacios D, Franco E. J. Early Adolesc. 2019; 39(9): 1286-1310.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, SAGE Publishing)

DOI

10.1177/0272431618824753

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Victimization in early adolescence can have severe negative consequences later in life. Friendships are especially important in this time period. The present study investigated friendship selection and influence (contagion) processes with regard to victimization, as well as prosocial and aggressive characteristics of victims’ friends. Using social network analyses (RSiena), we longitudinally analyzed data of five fourth-grade classrooms, including 185 students (56.8% girls; mean age at Time 1 = 10 years old). Results showed that early adolescents who experience peer victimization were not likely to select peers with similar levels of victimization as friends but selected prosocial peers as friends. Moreover, friends did not become more similar over time in their victimization levels. Prosocial students selected similar peers as friends. The discussion highlights the relevance of fostering positive peer relations for targeting victimization and discusses the defending role of friends in victimization situations.

Keywords victimization, friendships, aggression, prosocial behavior

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