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Relational Peer Victimization in Emerging Adulthood: The Effects of Self-Compassion and Normative Beliefs about Relational Aggression




Loflin, Della

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation



Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



Relational peer victimization has been consistently associated with psychosocial maladjustment in emerging adulthood, including depression (Leadbeater, Thompson, & Sukhawathanakul, 2014). Researchers have attempted to discover the underlying mechanisms of this relationship. Self-compassion may help elucidate connections between relational peer victimization and depressive symptoms, as it has been associated with psychological well-being, including decreases in depression (Neff & Vonk, 2009). Additionally, other factors may further influence how a person responds to relational peer victimization, such as how normative (i.e., acceptable) one views relational aggression. The present study hypothesized that overall self-compassion and its various domains would indirectly explain the relationship between relational peer victimization and depression. It was also anticipated that the association between relational peer victimization and self-compassion would be conditional upon normative beliefs about relational aggression. Using a sample of 552 emerging adults, the hypotheses were partially supported. Significant indirect effects were found for most models of self-compassion except for the Common Humanity subscale and the general positive domain. Further, in each condition, self-compassion and the specific components only partly accounted for this relationship. In addition, normative believes about relational aggression was not a significant moderator in any models. Taken together, the results of this study provide additional support for the contribution of self-compassion in the association between relational peer victimization and depression. Additional studies that utilize longitudinal designs and account for other potential mechanisms, such as positive cognitive behaviors, are needed to further clarify the nature of these relationships.