Peer Victimization and Callous-Unemotional Traits: The Impact of Parents and Teacher



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Research on the link between peer victimization and callous-unemotional (CU) traits has primarily relied on cross-sectional designs and yielded equivocal findings. In light of the poor outcomes related to peer victimization and CU traits, it is important to determine whether this link is reciprocal in nature and to identify factors that may influence its strength. Accordingly, the current study investigated the bidirectional association between peer victimization and CU traits over 6 months, accounting for the moderating effects of parents (i.e., support and hostility) and teachers (i.e., support and conflict). Participants included 284 third- through fifth-grade students (ages 7-12; 51.8% boys; 51.1% Hispanic) and their homeroom teachers. Children provided ratings of peer victimization, parental hostility, and parent and teacher support. Teachers provided ratings of CU traits and student-teacher conflict. A series of cross-lagged panel models were estimated to test the current study’s aims. Results revealed that, at higher levels of parental hostility, peer victimization predicted increases in CU traits over time; in contrast, peer victimization predicted subsequent decreases in CU traits at lower levels of parental hostility. Surprisingly, at higher levels of teacher conflict, peer victimization predicted decreases in CU traits over time. Parental hostility was positively associated with subsequent peer victimization, whereas teacher support predicted decreases in victimization over time. CU traits did not interact with parent or teacher variables to predict subsequent peer victimization. These findings build on previous research examining environmental influences on the development of CU traits by highlighting peer victimization and parental hostility as potential risk factors.

Embargo status: Restricted until 01/2174. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.



peer victimization, teacher conflict, teacher support, parent support, parent hostility