Peer victimization is associated with several mental health and behavioral problems during childhood and adolescence. Identifying prospective associations between victimization and factors known to protect against these problems may ultimately contribute to more precise developmental models for victimization’s role in behavioral and mental health. This study tested prospective associations between peer victimization and dispositional mindfulness, defined by non-judgmental and accepting awareness of the constant stream of lived experience, during early adolescence. It was hypothesized that victimization would predict lower levels of mindfulness over a 4-month period. Study participants were 152 seventh and eighth grade students (female = 51%, Caucasian = 35%, Hispanic/Latino = 34%, African-American = 13%, and multi-ethnic or other = 18%) participating in a social-emotional learning intervention feasibility trial. A structural equation model tested associations between mindfulness, victimization, and covariates at baseline, and mindfulness and victimization at 4-month posttest. As hypothesized, baseline victimization predicted significantly lower levels of mindfulness at 4-month posttest. Baseline mindfulness did not predict victimization. Results may reflect victimized youths’ mindful awareness being recurrently diverted away from the present moment due to thoughts of prior and/or impending victimization. Study implications may include implementing mindful awareness practices as an intervention strategy for victimized youth to enhance and/or restore this promotive factor.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 20, 2017
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