This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Linking Peer Victimization with Sleep in Early Adolescence




Spencer, Clayton

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Studies


The present study examined the association between peer victimization and sleep quality in early adolescence. Negative emotional arousal in the context of peer stress was examined as a possible mediator, and both sex and ethnicity were explored as possible moderators of the association between peer victimization and sleep quality. Participants included one hundred-twenty-three fifth and sixth graders at Time 1 (T1; Mage = 12.03, SD = .64). Adolescent, parent, and teacher reports of peer victimization were collected at T1, and adolescent reports of sleep quality were collected at T1 and T2, ten months later. Adolescent-reported, parent-reported, and the cross-informant composite of peer victimization were associated concurrently with poorer sleep quality. Adolescent-reported and composite peer victimization predicted poorer sleep quality over a ten month period, controlling for earlier sleep quality and demographic variables. Sex moderated the prospective association for adolescent, parent, and composite reports, such that peer victimization predicted poorer sleep quality more strongly among girls than boys. Negative emotional arousal did not operate as a mediator. This study contributes more evidence to the developmental-ecological model proposed by El-Sheikh & Sadeh (2015), providing the strongest evidence to date that peer victimization experiences can interfere with sleep in early adolescence. Future research should examine multiple dimensions of peer victimization and sleep, including objective measures.