Δευτέρα, 30 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

Victimization and Depression in adolescence: Gender Differences

Peer victimization, in the broadest sense, has been conceptualized in the literature as hurtful behaviors committed by peers. Peer victimization includes experiences of peer harassment and aggression (e.g., hitting, teasing, ignoring, and threatening), as well as bullying, which involves all of the same negative behaviors as peer harassment and aggression, but with a pattern that is repetitious, intentionally hurtful, and involves a power differential between bully and victim.
Whether defined as harassment, aggression, or bullying, peer victimization has consistently demonstrated negative associations with academic, emotional, and social functioning. Specifically, victimization has been associated with higher levels of internalizing distress, such as depression and anxiety. The relationship between peers and their experiences, both in childhood and in early adolescence, receiving considerable importance since they can contribute to the formation of identity in late adolescence and early adulthood. We have seen, unfortunately, many cases in Europe in general and in Cyprus today, particularly, of school violence, which a large part of it regards the bullying and victimization.
The victimization and bullying are widespread phenomena in students of all ages and all levels of classes, from primary school to high school .


The victimization described as the acceptance of deliberate and systematic violence that species from one or more individuals who qualify as perpetrators (bullies)
The negative effects of peer victimization are well documented. Depression and poor psycho-social adjustment are some of the symptoms that are associated with peer victimization. Depression has been found to be the most common correlate of peer victimization. Research findings show that depression in children cannot be easily recognizably because often coexists with other problems, perhaps more obvious, such as conduct disorder. 
 Adolescents with depression are most likely to present verbal externalization of feelings. The steep and sudden mood swings, their negative behavior and the removal of their school duties are some signs of depression in teens. Moreover, adolescents with depression often make negative evaluation of them and have low self-esteem .
The sector, however, in which children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to depression, is social. These children often complain that they have friends and they are not loved and accept clients from their peers and unfortunately sometimes this perception reflects the reality.

Previous studies demonstrate that, as a group, boys exhibit significantly higher levels of aggression than do girls and that boys are more likely to be involved in peer aggression and victimization than girls. Not surprisingly, these findings have been interpreted as an overall lack of aggressiveness in girls' peer interactions.
 However, an alternative explanation is that the forms of aggression assessed in past research are more salient for boys than for girls. If so, young females may exhibit unique forms of aggression, forms that have been overlooked in past research.
Generally, the research into bullying and victimization focus on prominent use of aggression, such as physical violence. More recent studies have focused on a more social form of aggression, more indirect and less visible.
In contrast to physical violence, which causes physical injury or the threat of such to victims, indirect aggression damages mainly through dissolution or fear of dissolution of relationships (exclusion from the group or break friendship.

 Girls are more likely to use indirect type of aggressive behavior, such as verbal, because such aggression causes damage to targets that are particularly important for girls.