Reactions to Bullying and Peer Victimization: Narratives, Physiological Arousal, and Personality


A mediational model of bullying and victimization is proposed and tested. Ninety-nine 10- to 13-year-old children provided two oral narratives of their victimization experiences, as perpetrator and victim, with their physiological arousal being measured while they told the narratives. The children and one of their parents also completed a variety of questionnaires, including a Big 5 measure of personality and measures of bullying and victimization tendencies. Mediational analyses indicated that children who score low on Conscientiousness and high on Neuroticism are more likely to experience negative affect during peer conflict, such as feeling angrier, blaming the bully more, and forgiving less, and that these reactions are related to higher levels of victimization. For bullies, relations among Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and bullying appear to be mediated by lesser feelings of guilt and gains in physiological arousal while telling a bullying narrative. Advantages of a mediational model of peer victimization processes and implications for interventions are discussed.

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This article was available online October 25, 2005.

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