Sweating under pressure: Skin conductance level reactivity moderates the association between peer victimization and externalizing behavior

Kim D. Gregson, Kelly M. Tu, Stephen A. Erath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background This study examined whether the association between peer victimization and externalizing behavior may be illuminated by individual differences in skin conductance level reactivity (SCLR) in the context of peer stress. Methods Participants included 123 fifth and sixth graders (Mean age = 12.03 years, 50% females; 42% ethnic minorities). SCLR was assessed in the context of an ecologically relevant, lab-based peer-evaluative stress experience in preadolescence. Results As hypothesized, self-reported peer victimization was linked with parent- and teacher-reported externalizing behavior, and SCLR consistently moderated these associations. Peer victimization was associated with parent- and teacher-reported externalizing behavior among preadolescents who exhibited lower SCLR, but not among preadolescents who exhibited higher SCLR. Conclusions Results suggest that promoting engagement with peer stress experiences and enhancing inhibitory control are potential intervention targets that may reduce externalizing behavior in the context of peer victimization (or reduce peer victimization among preadolescents who exhibit externalizing behavior).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Peer victimization
  • aggression
  • externalizing
  • preadolescence
  • psychophysiology
  • skin conductance level reactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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