Prosocial Behavior as a Protective Factor for Children's Peer Victimization

Emily R. Griese, Eric S. Buhs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


A majority of peer victimization research focuses on its associations with negative outcomes, yet efforts to understand possible protective factors that may mitigate these negative outcomes also require attention. The present study was an investigation of the potential moderating effect of prosocial behaviors on loneliness for youth who are peer victimized. Participants were fourth and fifth grade students (511 total; 49 % boys) who were primarily European American (43.4 %) and Hispanic (48.2 %). Structural Equation Modeling was used to test the interaction of prosocial behavior and peer victimization (relational and overt forms) on loneliness 1 year later. The results indicated that prosocial behavior significantly moderated the relationship between peer victimization (for the relational form only) and loneliness while controlling for levels of perceived peer support. A multi-group comparison by gender further indicated the moderation was significant for boys only. Potential implications for intervention/prevention efforts focused on developing children's prosocial skills as a possible protective factor for relationally victimized youth are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1052-1065
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Peer relations
  • Peer victimization
  • Prosocial behavior
  • Protective factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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