Preadolescents’ Daily Peer Victimization and Perceived Social Competence: Moderating Effects of Classroom Aggressionedit
Few studies have assessed children’s daily peer experiences, and even fewer have considered their daily self-perceptions. This daily diary study examined relations between preadolescents’ daily reports of peer victimization and perceived social competence, along with moderating effects of classroom aggression. A racially diverse sample of 182 children in 5th grade (105 boys; M age = 10.64 years; 35% White, 31% Black, 17% Hispanic, 17% other or not reported) completed daily measures of peer victimization and perceived social competence, with most children completing measures on 8 school days. Teachers completed measures of aggression for each participating pupil. Four types of peer victimization (verbal victimization, social manipulation, social rebuff, and property attacks) predicted decreased daily perceived social competence. Daily social rebuff predicted decreased daily perceived social competence beyond the effects of the other types of victimization. Classroom aggression moderated the relation of verbal victimization with perceived social competence, such that this relation was significant in classrooms with lower aggression and nonsignificant in classrooms with higher aggression. Results indicate that preadolescents’ daily self-perceptions fluctuate with daily victimization by peers, particularly with social rebuff. Findings also suggest that the impact of verbal victimization on children’s self-views could be exacerbated in classrooms that better manage peer-to-peer aggression. Accordingly, targeted interventions appear critical for children who continue to experience peer victimization in schools with highly effective aggression prevention programs.