Date of Award

Summer 8-16-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



Despite significant public health concerns, the association between problematic peer relations (e.g., bullying) and psychopathology remains unclear. Thus far research has suggested three possible models of this association: that peer relations lead, or are a risk factor for symptoms of psychopathology (interpersonal risk model); lag, or are a consequence of psychopathology (interpersonal scar model); or both lead and lag psychopathology (transactional model). We additionally propose and test the hypothesis that peer relations may be a leading or lagging indicator of psychopathology depending on the developmental period (developmental model). Measures of youth’s peer relations (as reported by a parent and teacher on the MacArthur Health and Behavior Questionnaire (HBQ)) and clinical symptoms (as indicated by a clinician on a semi-structured clinical interview (PAPA/CAPA)) were assessed at up to 6 time points between the ages of 3 and 11. We used bivariate latent change score models to identify leading/lagging longitudinal relationships between different aspects of children’s peer relations (peer victimization, peer-directed aggression, social withdrawal, and prosocial behavior) and dimensions of psychopathology (depression, anxiety, and externalizing symptoms). Results indicated that peer victimization was a significant leading indicator of depression from early childhood into early adolescence, and aggression of externalizing symptoms (specifically in late childhood/early adolescence). Findings emphasize bullying (both as a victim or perpetrator) as a substantial risk factor for depression and externalizing disorders, even beyond established risk factors such as adverse life events, socioeconomic status, and psychiatric family history.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Deanna M. Barch

Committee Members

Joshua J. Jackson, Renee J. Thompson


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/jy8k-hf96