Victimization and religious engagement: Links to school attachment and subsequent adjustment outcomes

Meredith O. Hope, Eric Buhs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Peer victimization is associated with increases in internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors among early adolescents. However, supportive resources, both in and outside of school contexts, can mitigate the impact of peer victimization on adjustment problems. Religious engagement is a significant protective factor for a wide range of adult outcomes that may function similarly for early adolescents. Data from a national longitudinal study was used to examine the relationships between peer victimization in school, school attachment, religious engagement, and adjustment outcomes for early adolescents. School attachment was hypothesized to mediate the links between peer victimization and religious engagement and adjustment outcomes. Religious engagement was also hypothesized to moderate the links between peer victimization and adjustment outcomes. Results indicated that peer victimization was positively associated with increased externalizing problems, but only for girls. School attachment mediated relationships between peer victimization and internalizing problems for the most religiously engaged group. In addition, for youth low in religious engagement, school attachment mediated links between peer victimization and externalizing problems. Our results are consistent with the idea that engagement in scholastic and extrascholastic contexts may offer benefits that are protective and reduce likelihood of internalizing and externalizing problems for some victimized youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-344
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Adjustment
  • Adolescents
  • Peer victimization
  • Religion
  • School

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Applied Psychology


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