Adolescent Peer Victimization and Physical Health Problems

Whitney M. Herge, Annette M. La Greca, Sherilynn F. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objective Peer victimization (PV) is a key interpersonal stressor that can be traumatizing for youth. This study evaluated the relationships between overt, relational, reputational, and cyber PV and adolescents' somatic complaints and sleep problems. Symptoms of depression and social anxiety were examined as potential mediators. Method Adolescents (N = 1,162; M age = 15.80 years; 57% female; 80% Hispanic) were assessed at three time points, 6 weeks apart, using standardized measures of PV, depression, social anxiety, sleep problems, and somatic complaints. Structural equation modeling evaluated key study aims. Results Relational, reputational, and cyber PV, but not overt PV, were directly or indirectly associated with subsequent somatic complaints and/or sleep problems. Depression and social anxiety mediated relationships between relational PV and health outcomes, whereas reputational PV was indirectly associated with somatic complaints via depression only. Discussion The stress of PV may contribute to adolescents' sleep problems and somatic complaints and has implications for pediatric psychologists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • adolescence
  • cyber victimization
  • depression
  • peer victimization
  • physical health
  • social anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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