Peer victimization is a pervasive problem that contributes to increased emotional dysfunction (e.g., loneliness, depression, helplessness) in children and adolescents. Importantly, not all students respond to peer victimization the same way. The current study examined the role of hopefulness as a possible protective mechanism that mediates the relationship between different forms of peer victimization (i.e., relational; RV and physical; PV) and emotional dysfunction among adolescents. One hundred eleven adolescents (M age = 11.4 years; 54% male) completed measures assessing hopefulness, emotional dysfunction, and exposure to RV and PV. Mediation analyses revealed significant direct effects for RV and PV on emotional dysfunction. However, when adding hopefulness as a mediator, these effects were diminished, suggesting partial mediation. Findings revealed that hopefulness partially explains the relationship between both forms of peer victimization and emotional dysfunction. Results suggest that targeting students’ hopefulness may serve as a protective mechanism to reduce the negative impacts of relational and physical peer victimization on adolescents’ emotional dysfunction. Implications for prevention and intervention work are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)