Peer victimization and child physical health: The moderating role of pessimism

Tori R. Van Dyk, Timothy D. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


ObjectiveInvolvement in peer victimization has been associated with numerous negative consequences, including poor physical health. The purpose of this study is to improve on previous research evaluating the victimization-health relationship by examining the health (i.e., health-related quality of life [HRQoL], medical service utilization) of both victims and aggressors and examining individual variation in this relationship through the moderating effect of pessimism.MethodThe sample included 125 ethnically diverse youth aged 8-11 years recruited from a low-income medical practice. Child-report of involvement in peer victimization and pessimism was assessed along with parent-report of HRQoL. 2-year medical service utilization was extracted from medical records.Although not all hypotheses were supported, victims and aggressors were found to be at increased risk for certain poor health outcomes, which were exacerbated by high levels of pessimism.ConclusionFindings expand on research into peer victimization and health and provide important implications for identification, prevention, and intervention strategies with at-risk youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-480
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2014


  • aggression
  • peer victimization
  • pessimism
  • physical health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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