Relations between peer victimization subtypes, family violence, and psychological outcomes during early adolescence

Dorothy L. Espelage, Sabina Low, Lisa De La Rue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To identify subgroups of youth who experience multiple forms of victimization at school and to evaluate how these subgroups vary in their experiences of family violence, depression, and alcohol and drug use. Method: Cluster analysis of verbal/physical aggression victimization, relational aggression victimization, sexual harassment victimization, and homophobic name-calling victimization scales among 992 early adolescents (5th to 8th grades). Results: As hypothesized, 4 distinct clusters emerged: non-or minimal-victims, relational victims, homophobic name-calling victims, and peer polyvictims. Relational and polyvictim clusters were more likely to endorse witnessing domestic violence and being physically or sexually abused at home; depression, alcohol, and drug use, when compared to non-or minimal-victims or homophobic name-calling victims. Conclusions: Findings validate the importance of distinguishing among forms of peer victimization given the heterogeneity among youths' experience of violence, and the relations with familial victimization and psychological consequences. Data from the current study advance our understanding of shared and nonshared correlates and consequences across different forms of peer victimization among a relatively young middle school sample. These findings ultimately inform more precise targets for intervention, such as victimization directed at damaging one's relationship or victimization directed at one's gender.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-324
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • cluster analysis
  • early adolescence
  • polyvictimization
  • victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)


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