Associations Between Childhood Peer Victimization and Aggression and Subsequent Victimization and Aggression at College

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Abstract

Objective: We examined latent classes of retrospective reports of childhood peer victimization/aggression and how these classes related to subsequent risk for victimization and aggression at college. Method: First-year students from four universities (N = 428; 73.6% female) provided retrospective reports of childhood peer victimization and aggression at initial college entry and reported on subsequent victimization and aggression over the course of the first year of college. Results: A latent class analysis for childhood peer victimization/aggression supported four classes of students: High Victimization and Aggression (12.3%), High Victimization/Low Aggression (20.0%), High Relational Victimization and Relational Aggression (30.8%), and Low Involvement (36.9%). Students in the High Victimization and Aggression class were more likely to experience hazing and sexual victimization compared with the Low Involvement class. A latent class analysis of college victimization/aggression revealed Low Involvement and Medium/High Involvement groups. Latent transition analysis demonstrated that most participants in each childhood latent class transitioned into the Low Involvement class. However, there was also support for college revictimization/aggression risk for those most highly involved in childhood peer victimization/aggression. Conclusion: Students with high levels of childhood peer victimization/aggression incur somewhat greater risk for victimization and aggression in college, but overall, most students transitioned to low involvement in college.

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