Graduation Semester and Year

2016

Language

English

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lauri A Jensen-Campbell

Abstract

Peer victimization, a common psychosocial stressor in adolescence, is linked to adverse health outcomes ranging from depression to changes in biological functioning. Social victimization is particularly harmful given the importance placed on peer relations and social status during this developmental period. This dissertation evaluated the associations among social victimization, physical health, psychological health, the BDNF Val66Met polymorphism, and inflammatory biomarkers (IL-6 and CRP) in a diverse sample of adolescents (N = 254). Social victimization was related to depressive symptoms, health problems, and inflammation, partially replicating a previous study. BDNF Val66Met moderated the link between social victimization and health outcomes, such that the association was stronger for homozygous Val teens. Additionally, social victimization was related to negative health consequences regardless of social bullying in moderated multiple regression analyses. Finally, the role of gender as a moderator was explored, with results indicating that female victims, male bully-victims, and female Met carriers generally reported worse outcomes. These results underscore the importance of accounting for social, biological, and genetic factors related to depressive symptoms and health outcomes.

Keywords

Stress, Bullying, Peer victimization, Depression, Health

Disciplines

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Comments

Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons

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