Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Albert Farrell


The majority of students experience peer victimization at least once during middle school. Existing research has established a strong link between exposure to peer victimization and poor psychosocial outcomes, including, but not limited to, maladaptive coping processes. Although little empirical attention has been devoted to examining how peer victimization impacts the development of social goals, the few existing studies have shown a positive relation between peer victimization and revenge goals. To further advance this research, several concurrent and longitudinal models delineating the relations among peer victimization, physical aggression, parental attitudes toward aggression, peer deviance, and revenge goals were examined in a sample of 5,068 sixth graders in the fall and spring of the academic year. It was hypothesized that the relation between overt victimization and revenge goals would be moderated by: a) physical aggression, b) parental support of aggression, and c) peer deviancy, such that the relation would strengthen as levels of each moderator increased. Hierarchical linear regression models found significant, positive main effects for overt victimization, physical aggression, parental support for aggression, and peer deviancy on revenge goals both concurrently and over time. These effects did not differ by gender. Results indicated that the relation between overt victimization and revenge goals was strongest for students with low to moderate levels of physical aggression, whereas victimization was inversely related to revenge goals for highly aggressive students. In addition, overt victimization was positively related to revenge goals for students with low to moderate numbers of deviant peers, but this relation was no longer significant for students at the highest quartile of peer deviancy. These results have important implications regarding the inclusion of traditionally “low risk” students in violence prevention programs, and also highlight the importance of intervening at the individual, parent, and peer level.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

March 2009

Included in

Psychology Commons