Victims of Their Own Cognitions: Implicit Social Cognitions, Emotional Distress, and Peer Victimization


This study investigated the relation between victimization and victimization-related distress and implicit social–cognitive processing. Eighty-seven 9–13 year old children completed measures of victimization experience and social cognitive processing tasks, including the emotional Stroop task and the self-concept Implicit Association Test (IAT). Participants also related narratives of personal victimization experiences. Results showed that children who experienced more frequent victimization and expressed more distress when discussing their victimization demonstrated increased implicit association of themselves as victims and greater use of emotionally dysregulated preemptive processing. This study represents the first evidence of a relation between distinct implicit processing patterns and chronic peer victimization among children.

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