The relationship between peer conflict resolution knowledge and peer victimization in school-age children across the language continuum
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UNLABELLED: Peer victimization, or bullying, has been identified as a significant child health priority and children with language impairment (LI) are among those who are vulnerable. Given the mandate of educators to provide support for all students who are bullied regardless of language status, research is needed that integrates the study of risk factors for peer victimization among children who are developing typically and children who have LI. Accordingly, this preliminary study explored the degree to which one potential risk factor, peer conflict resolution knowledge, was related to peer victimization in children across the language continuum, and considered whether or not individual differences in language ability influenced that relationship. Participants included 17 girls and 15 boys aged 9-12 years with a wide range of language abilities, six meeting criteria for LI. Participants completed a hypothetical peer conflict resolution task and a measure of peer victimization. Correlational analyses revealed very different patterns of relationships for boys and girls. Whereas boys' reports of peer victimization were meaningfully related to how they responded to hypothetical peer conflicts, girls' reports were most strongly associated with language ability. These preliminary findings suggest that it is important to consider gender when conceptualizing how factors such as peer conflict resolution knowledge might influence children's risk of being bullied. LEARNING OUTCOMES: Readers will be able to: (1) provide a definition of peer victimization and give examples of different forms of peer victimization; (2) recognize that inadequate peer conflict resolution knowledge may be a risk factor for peer victimization; (3) describe the relationships between peer conflict resolution knowledge, language ability, and peer victimization in this study, and explain how these relationships differed for boys and girls; and (4) identify at least three opportunities for future research that would help to clarify risk factors for peer victimization in boys and girls.
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