DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2017.00336

Acta Psychologica Sinica (心理学报) 2017/49:3 PP.336-348

Characteristics of peer victimization and the bidirectional relationship between peer victimization and internalizing problems among rural-to-urban migrant children in China: A longitudinal study

China's rapid urbanization has led to unprecedented growth of rural-to-urban migrant children. Although previous studies have shown that migrant children report more peer victimization and internalizing problems, limited studies have yet examined associations between peer victimization and internalizing problems, as well as the direction of these relationships. Therefore, the current longitudinal study aimed to explore characteristics of peer victimization and associations between peer victimization and internalizing problems over a two-year period. A sample of 426 rural-to-urban migrant children was recruited from one migrant children's primary school (n=185) and two public primary schools (n=241) in Beijing, China. Of the 426 participants, 157 (36.9%) were girls and 269 (63.1%) were boys. The sample showed moderate attrition over a two-year period, with 281 (66.0%) participants completing all surveys during the four waves of assessment.
Quantitative surveys were administered to participants in October of 2011(Wave 1), June of 2012 (Wave 2), October of 2012 (Wave 3), and June of 2013 (Wave 4). At each wave, participants completed a self-administered questionnaire that requested information on demographic variables, experiences of various types of peer victimization (i.e., physical, verbal, relational, property), and internalizing problems (i.e., social anxiety, depression, loneliness). Results indicated high prevalence of perceived peer victimization, with participants reporting the prevalence of the four types of peer victimization (i.e., physical, verbal, relational, property) to be 76.5%, 77.8%, 71.4%, and 63.2%, respectively. Boys reported experiencing more physical victimization than girls, and migrant children who moved more often reported experiencing more peer victimization and greater internalizing problems. Migrant children enrolled in public schools reported less peer victimization and fewer internalizing problems than their counterparts enrolled in the separate migrant school.
Cross-lagged analysis showed a significant bidirectional relationship between peer victimization and internalizing problems when controlling for key demographic variables (i.e., gender, grade, socio-economic status, and frequency of moves). Specifically, peer victimization in Wave 1 significantly predicted depression and loneliness in Wave 2, and loneliness in Wave 1 also significantly predicted peer victimization in Wave 2. In addition, internalizing problems in Wave 2 significantly predicted peer victimization in Wave 3, which, in turn, increased reported internalizing problems in Wave 4. Multi-group cross-lagged analysis showed that the bidirectional relationship between peer victimization and depression, as well as between peer victimization and loneliness, did not differ by school group (i.e., migrant or public). However, the association between peer victimization and social anxiety was stronger for children enrolled in the migrant school than for children enrolled in public schools.
These findings contribute to our understanding of the complex relationships between peer victimization and internalizing problems among rural-to-urban migrant children in China. Moreover, the findings have important implications for the development of prevention and intervention programs for this at-risk group. Programs that aim to improve the mental health of migrant children and to reduce incidents of peer victimization among this vulnerable group may be helpful in breaking the detrimental cycle between peer victimization and internalizing problems.

Key words:migrant children,China,peer victimization,internalizing problems,longitudinal study

ReleaseDate:2017-04-10 17:47:49

Asher, S. R., Hymel, S., & Renshaw, P. D. (1984). Loneliness in children. Child Development, 55, 1456-1464.

Chen, L. H., Su, S. B., Li, X. M., Tam, C. C., & Lin, D. H. (2014). Perceived discrimination, schooling arrangements and psychological adjustments of rural-to-urban migrant children in Beijing, China. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine:An Open Access Journal, 2(1), 713-722.

Duncan, T. E., Duncan, S. C., & Li, F. Z. (1998). A comparison of model-and multiple imputation-based approaches to longitudinal analyses with partial missingness. Structural Equation Modeling:A Multidisciplinary Journal, 5(1), 1-21.

Fan, X. H., Fang, X. Y., Liu, Y., Lin, X. Y., & Yuan, X. J. (2012). The effect of social support and social identity on the relationship between perceived discrimination and socio-cultural adjustment among Chinese migrant children. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 44(5), 647-663.

[范兴华, 方晓义, 刘扬, 蔺秀云, 袁晓娇. (2012). 流动儿童歧视知觉与社会文化适应:社会支持和社会认同的作用. 心理学报, 44(5), 647-663.]

Fendrich, M., Weissman, M. M., & Warner, V. (1990). Screening for depressive disorder in children and adolescents:Validating the center for epidemiologic studies depression scale for children. American Journal of Epidemiology, 131(3), 538-551.

Finnegan, R. A., Hodges, E. V. E., & Perry, D. G. (1996). Preoccupied and avoidant coping during middle childhood. Child Development, 67(4), 1318-1328.

Gini, G., & Pozzoli, T. (2013). Bullied children and psychosomatic problems:A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 132(4), 720-729.

Graham, S., Bellmore, A. D., & Mize, J. (2006). Peer victimization, aggression, and their co-occurrence in middle school:Pathways to adjustment problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34(3), 349-364.

Graham, S., & Juvonen, J. (1998). Self-blame and peer victimization in middle school:An attributional analysis. Developmental Psychology, 34(3), 587-599.

Guo, H. Y., Zhu, W. L., Zhu, Q., Zhu, M. L., Zuo, P. Y., & Lin, D. H. (2014). Parent-child communication and perceived well-being:The mediating effects of basic psychological needs satisfaction among rural children in China. Psychological Development and Education, 30(2), 129-136.

[郭海英, 朱婉灵, 朱倩, 朱茂玲, 左培颖, 林丹华. (2014). 亲子沟通与农村青少年幸福感的关系:基本心理需要满足的中介作用. 心理发展与教育, 30(2), 129-136.]

Hanish, L. D., & Guerra, N. G. (2000). Predictors of peer victimization among urban youth. Social Development, 9(4), 521-543.

Hanish, L. D., & Guerra, N. G. (2002). A longitudinal analysis of patterns of adjustment following peer victimization. Development and Psychopathology, 14(1), 69-89.

Hawker, D. S. J., & Boulton, M. J. (2000). Twenty years' research on peer victimization and psychosocial maladjustment:A meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41(4), 441-455.

Helms, S. W., Gallagher, M., Calhoun, C. D., Choukas-Bradley, S., Dawson, G. C., & Prinstein, M. J. (2014). Intrinsic religiosity buffers the longitudinal effects of peer victimization on adolescent depressive symptoms. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44(3), 471-479.

Hodges, E. V. E., & Perry, D. G. (1999). Personal and interpersonal antecedents and consequences of victimization by peers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(4), 677-685.

Hoglund, W. L., & Leadbeater, B. J. (2007). Managing threat:Do social-cognitive processes mediate the link between peer victimization and adjustment problems in early adolescence?. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 17(3), 525-540.

Hu, N., Fang, X. Y., Lin, X. Y., & Liu, Y. (2009). The relationship among fluidity, social anxiety and loneliness in migrant children in Beijing. Chinese Journal of Applied Psychology, 15(2), 166-176.

[胡宁, 方晓义, 蔺秀云, 刘杨. (2009). 北京流动儿童的流动性、社交焦虑及对孤独感的影响. 应用心理学, 15(2),166-176.]

Ji, L. Q., Chen, L., Xu, F. Z., Zhao, S. Y., & Zhang, W. X. (2011). A longitudinal analysis of the association between peer victimization and patterns of psychosocial adjustment during middle and late childhood. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 43(10), 1151-1162.

[纪林芹, 陈亮, 徐夫真, 赵守盈, 张文新. (2011). 童年中晚期同伴侵害对儿童心理社会适应影响的纵向分析. 心理学报, 43(10), 1151-1162.]

La Greca, A. M., Dandes, S. K., Wick, P., Shaw, K., & Stone, W. L. (1988). Development of the social anxiety scale for children:Reliability and concurrent validity. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 17(1), 84-91.

Lerner, R. M. (2006). Developmental science, developmental systems, and contemporary theories of human development. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (editors-in-chief) and R. M. Lerner (vol. ed.), Handbook of child psychology. Vol. 1:Theoretical models of human development (6th ed., pp. 1-17, 43-61, 542-548). Hoboken, NJ:Wiley.

Lin, X. Y., Fang, X. Y., Liu, Y., & Lan, J. (2009). The effect mechanism of stigma perception on mental health among migrant children in Beijing. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 41(10), 967-979.

[蔺秀云, 方晓义, 刘杨, 兰菁. (2009). 流动儿童歧视知觉与心理健康水平的关系及其心理机制. 心理学报, 41(10), 967-979.]

Liu, J., Chen, L., Ji, L. Q., Wang, S. Q., & Zhang, W. X. (2011). Physical/relational peer victimization and children's self-concept in late childhood. Psychological Development and Education, 27(4), 412-416.

[刘娟, 陈亮, 纪林芹, 王姝琼, 张文新. (2011). 童年晚期身体侵害、关系侵害与儿童的自我概念. 心理发展与教育, 27(4), 412-416.]

Liu, J. S., & Zhao, Y. (2013). Predictive relation between peer victimization and behavior problems:A two-year longitudinal study. Journal of Psychological Science, 36(3), 632-637.

[刘俊升, 赵燕. (2013). 童年中期受欺负与问题行为之关系:一项两年纵向研究. 心理科学, 36(3), 632-637.]

Liu, X., Zhao, J. X., & Shen, J. L. (2013). Perceived discrimination and subjective well-being among urban migrant children:The effect of mediator and moderator. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 45(5), 568-584.

[刘霞, 赵景欣, 申继亮. (2013). 歧视知觉对城市流动儿童幸福感的影响:中介机制及归属需要的调节作用.心理学报, 45(5), 568-584.]

Ma, H. (1999). Social anxiety scale for children. In Wang, X. D., Wang, X. L., & Ma, H. (Eds.). Handbook of rating scale for mental health (revised edition, pp. 248-249). Beijing:Chinese Mental Health Journal Press.

[马弘. (1999). 儿童社交焦虑量表. 见汪向东, 王希林, 马弘(编), 心理卫生评定量表手册(增订版, pp. 248-249). 北京:中国心理卫生杂志社.]

Ministry of Education of China. (2015-07-31). National education statistical bulletin in 2014. China Education Daily, pp1-4.

[教育部. (2015-07-31). 2014年全国教育事业发展统计公报. 中国教育报, pp1-4.]

Mynard, H., & Joseph, S. (2000). Development of the multidimensional peer-victimization scale. Aggressive Behavior, 26(2), 169-178.

National Health and Family Planning Commission of China. (2015) Investigation on development of Chinese migrant people in 2014, Retrieved December 3, 2015, from

[国家卫生和计划生育委员会. (2015). 中国流动人口发展报告2015. 2015-12-03取自]

Reijntjes, A., Kamphuis, J. H., Prinzie, P., & Telch, M. J. (2010). Peer victimization and internalizing problems in children:A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Child Abuse & Neglect, 34(4), 244-252.

Schwartz, D., Chang, L., & Farver, J. M. (2001). Correlates of victimization in Chinese children's peer groups. Developmental Psychology, 37(4), 520-532.

Schwartz, D., Lansford, J. E., Dodge, K. A., Pettit, G. S., & Bates, J. E. (2013). The link between harsh home environments and negative academic trajectories is exacerbated by victimization in the elementary school peer group. Developmental Psychology, 49(2), 305-316.

Shen, J. L., Liu, X., Zhao, J. X., & Shi, B. G. (2015). The psychological development of Chinese left-behind children and migrant children in urbanization process. Psychological Development and Education, 31(1), 108-116.

[申继亮, 刘霞, 赵景欣, 师保国. (2015). 城镇化进程中农民工子女心理发展研究. 心理发展与教育, 31(1), 108-116.]

Shi, B. G., Wang, F., Liu, X., & Kang, Y. R. (2015). The research into migrant children's psychological development in China:Developments and prospects. Chinese Journal of Special Education, (11), 68-72.

[师保国, 王芳, 刘霞, 康义然. (2014). 国内流动儿童心理研究:回顾与展望. 中国特殊教育, (11), 68-72.]

Snyder, J., Brooker, M., Patrick, M. R., Snyder, A., Schrepferman, L., & Stoolmiller, M. (2003). Observed peer victimization during early elementary school:Continuity, growth, and relation to risk for child antisocial and depressive behavior. Child Development, 74(6), 1881-1898.

Stapinski, L. A., Araya, R., Heron, J., Montgomery, A. A., & Stallard, P. (2015). Peer victimization during adolescence:Concurrent and prospective impact on symptoms of depression and anxiety. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 28(1), 105-120.

Storch, E. A., & Ledley, D. R. (2005). Peer victimization and psychosocial adjustment in children:Current knowledge and future directions. Clinical Pediatrics, 44(1), 29-38.

Sullivan, T. N., Farrell, A. D., & Kliewer, W. (2006). Peer victimization in early adolescence:Association between physical and relational victimization and drug use, aggression, and delinquent behaviors among urban middle school students. Development and Psychopathology, 18(1), 119-137.

Sweeting, H., Young, R., West, P., & Der, G. (2006). Peer victimization and depression in early-mid adolescence:A longitudinal study. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(3), 577-594.

Tan, Q. B. (2010). School bullying and school adjustment among urban migrant children in China. Theory and Practice of Contemporary Education, 2(2), 94-96.

[谭千保. (2010). 城市流动儿童的学校欺负与学校适应. 当代教育理论与实践, 2(2), 94-96.]

Vaillancourt, T., Brittain, H. L., McDougall, P., & Duku, E. (2013). Longitudinal links between childhood peer victimization, internalizing and externalizing problems, and academic functioning:Developmental cascades. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41(8), 1203-1215.

Yuan, X. J., Fang, X. Y., Liu, Y., & Lin, X. Y. (2012). The relationship between stress coping, depression and social anxiety among migrant children:A longitudinal study. Psychological Development and Education, 28(3), 283-291.

[袁晓娇, 方晓义, 刘杨, 蔺秀云. (2012). 流动儿童压力应对方式与抑郁感、社交焦虑的关系:一项追踪研究. 心理发展与教育, 28(3), 283-291.]

Zhang, W. X. (2002). Prevalence and major characteristics of bullying/victimization among primary and junior middle school children. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 34(4), 387-394.

[张文新. (2002). 中小学生欺负/受欺负的普遍性与基本特点. 心理学报, 34(4), 387-394.]

Zhang, W. X., & Chen, G. H. (2009). Developmental contextualism:An instance of development system theories. Advances in Psychological Science, 17(4), 736-744.

[张文新, 陈光辉. (2009). 发展情境论--一种新的发展系统理论. 心理科学进展, 17(4), 736-744.]

Zhang, W. X., Chen, L., Ji, L. Q., Zhang, L. L., Chen, G. H., & Wang, S. Q. (2009). Physical and relational victimization, and children's emotional adjustment in middle childhood. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 41(5), 433-443.

[张文新, 陈亮, 纪林芹, 张玲玲, 陈光辉, 王姝琼. (2009). 童年中期身体侵害、关系侵害与儿童的情绪适应. 心理学报, 41(5), 433-443.]

Zhou, H., & Long, L. R. (2004). Statistical remedies for common method biases. Advances in Psychological Science, 12(6), 942-950.

[周浩, 龙立荣. (2004). 共同方法偏差的统计检验与控制方法. 心理科学进展, 12(6), 942-950.]

Zhou, Z. K., Zhao, D. M., Sun, X. J., & Ding, X. F. (2006). Children's experiences with peers and loneliness:A two-year longitudinal study. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 38(5), 743-750.

[周宗奎, 赵冬梅, 孙晓军, 定险峰. (2006). 儿童的同伴交往与孤独感:一项2年纵向研究. 心理学报, 38(5), 743-750.]

Zhu, Q., Guo, H. Y., Pan, J., & Lin, D. H. (2015). Perceived discrimination and problem behaviors among rural-to-urban migrant children:The moderating role of resilience. Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology, 23(3), 529-533.

[朱倩, 郭海英, 潘瑾, 林丹华. (2015). 流动儿童歧视知觉与问题行为--心理弹性的调节作用. 中国临床心理学杂志, 23(3), 529-533.]

Zwierzynska, K., Wolke, D., & Lereya, T. S. (2013). Peer victimization in childhood and internalizing problems in adolescence:A prospective longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41(2), 309-323.