Preadolescents' Internal Attributions for Negative Peer Experiences: Links to Child and Classroom Peer Victimization and Friendship.


Department of Psychology, Arcadia University, 450 S. Easton Rd, Glenside, PA, 19038, USA. [Email]


In addition to children's own peer relations, contextual norms for peer relations in classrooms and schools can influence how they perceive their peer interactions, and in some cases, might do so in opposite ways. The current study examined the relations of preadolescents' internal attributions for negative peer experiences with their own peer victimization and reciprocal friendship, as well as their classrooms' norms for peer victimization and reciprocal friendship. A racially diverse sample of 532 boys and girls from 37 fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms completed self-report measures of two internal attributions (characterological and behavioral) and peer nominations for peer victimization and reciprocal friendship. Multilevel multivariate regression was used to test a series of two-level models. Child peer victimization was positively associated with characterological attributions, and classroom peer victimization was negatively related to these attributions. Child reciprocal friendship was negatively associated with characterological and behavioral attributions, and classroom reciprocal friendship was positively related to characterological attributions. Results reveal distinct relations of children's own peer victimization and reciprocal friendship with their internal peer attributions. The findings also highlight the contextualized nature of children's internal peer attributions and provide additional support for the emerging notion of inverse or paradoxical effects of class/school-level variables on children's social cognition. Implications are briefly discussed for both school-based intervention and psychotherapy.


Attributions,Classroom norms,Friendship,Peer victimization,