One thousand twenty-four African American and Latino sixth graders participated in a study examining the moderating role of pubertal development on the relation between peer victimization and adolescent self-worth, depressed mood, and physical symptoms using peer and self-reported victimization. It was hypothesized that early-maturing girls who were victimized would experience heightened internalized distress. Among boys, two competing hypotheses were tested: (a) the imbalance of power hypothesis predicted that late-maturing boys who were victimized would experience more psychological distress and (b) the social misfit hypothesis predicted that early-maturing victims would experience more distress. Results indicated that African American and Latino early-maturing boys and girls who were viewed as victims by their peers reported elevated depressed mood and physical symptoms and lower self-worth. The moderating role of early puberty was documented with reputational (peer report) measures of victimization rather than self-report measures, which highlights the social consequences of early maturation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies
- Internalizing symptoms
- Peer victimization