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TRAILS

2019

Bullying and popularity: Friendships, perceived popularity, and adolescent romantic relationship debut

Authors: Savickaite R, Dijkstra JK, Kreager D, Ivanova K, Veenstra R

This study examined the association of friendships and popularity with adolescents’ first-time involvement in a romantic relationship (referred to as romantic relationship debut). The aim of this article was twofold: first, to disentangle the unique effects of friendships and perceived popularity; second, to separate same- and cross-gender peer nominations. Specifically, it was tested whether same- and cross-gender friendships or same- and cross-gender popularity were more likely to increase the likelihood of romantic relationship debut. Using longitudinal data of 590 Dutch adolescents age 12 to 18 (57 % girls) from TRAILS (Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey), results are consistent with the hypothesis that cross-gender friendships and cross-gender popularity increase the chances of a romantic relationship debut. Findings indicate that peer evaluations by cross-gender peers of both friendships and popularity account for adolescents’ romantic relationship debut.

Bullying and popularity: Disparities in persistent victimization and associated internalizing symptoms for heterosexual versus sexual minority youth

Authors: Kaufman TML, Baams L, Veenstra R

This study investigated whether lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents were at higher risk for persistent victimization of bullying compared to heterosexual adolescents, and how victimization trajectories were associated with internalizing symptom development across LGB and heterosexual adolescents. Data came from a five‐wave study (MageT1 = 11.1 to MageT5 = 22.3; n = 151 LGB; n = 1,275 heterosexual) and informants were adolescents and their parents. Adolescents were classified in three victimization trajectories: persistent (5.6%), decreasing (28.1%) or low (66.3%) victimization. LGB adolescents reported more persistent victimization, relative to no (OR = 6.79, 95% CI [3.52, 13.13]) or decreasing victimization (OR = 3.09, 95% CI [1.53, 6.24]), compared to heterosexual peers. Further, persistent victimization was more strongly associated with anxiety among LGB than among heterosexual adolescents.

Bullying and popularity: Disparities in persistent victimization and associated internalizing symptoms for heterosexual versus sexual minority youth

Authors: Kaufman TML, Baams L, Veenstra R

This study investigated whether lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents were at higher risk for persistent victimization of bullying compared to heterosexual adolescents, and how victimization trajectories were associated with internalizing symptom development across LGB and heterosexual adolescents. Data came from a five‐wave study (MageT1 = 11.1 to MageT5 = 22.3; n = 151 LGB; n = 1,275 heterosexual) and informants were adolescents and their parents. Adolescents were classified in three victimization trajectories: persistent (5.6%), decreasing (28.1%) or low (66.3%) victimization. LGB adolescents reported more persistent victimization, relative to no (OR = 6.79, 95% CI [3.52, 13.13]) or decreasing victimization (OR = 3.09, 95% CI [1.53, 6.24]), compared to heterosexual peers. Further, persistent victimization was more strongly associated with anxiety among LGB than among heterosexual adolescents.

Bullying and popularity: The social withdrawal and social anxiety feedback loop and the role of peer victimization and acceptance in the pathways

Authors: Barzeva SA, Richards JS, Meeus WHJ, Oldehinkel AJ

Social withdrawal and social anxiety are believed to have a bidirectional influence on one another, but it is unknown if their relationship is bidirectional, especially within person, and if peer experiences influence this relationship. We investigated temporal sequencing and the strength of effects between social withdrawal and social anxiety, and the roles of peer victimization and acceptance in the pathways. Participants were 2,772 adolescents from the population-based and clinically referred cohorts of the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey. Self- and parent-reported withdrawal, and self-reported social anxiety, peer victimization, and perceived peer acceptance were assessed at 11, 13, and 16 years. Random-intercept cross-lagged panel models were used to investigate within-person associations between these variables. There was no feedback loop between withdrawal and social anxiety. Social withdrawal did not predict social anxiety at any age. Social anxiety at 11 years predicted increased self-reported withdrawal at 13 years. Negative peer experiences predicted increased self- and parent-reported withdrawal at 13 years and increased parent-reported withdrawal at 16 years. In turn, self-reported withdrawal at 13 years predicted negative peer experiences at 16 years. In conclusion, adolescents became more withdrawn when they became more socially anxious or experienced greater peer problems, and increasing withdrawal predicted greater victimization and lower acceptance.

Bullying and popularity: A healthy peer status: peer preference, not popularity, predicts lower systemic inflammation in adolescence

Authors: De Bruine M, Giletta M, Denissen JJA, Sijtsema JJ, Oldehinkel AJ

In adolescence, sensitivity to peers is heightened, which makes peer experiences highly salient. Recent work suggests that these experiences may influence individuals’ immune system functioning. Although there is a need to investigate which types of developmental salient social experiences affect inflammation, no studies have examined the role of peer status in inflammatory activity so far. This study is the first to examine the unique role of different types of peer status (i.e., peer preference and peer popularity) on systemic inflammation in adolescence, and the extent to which this association is moderated by early childhood adversity. Participants were 587 Dutch adolescents from the TRacking Adolescents´ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS). Data were collected when participants were 11 (SD = .56), 13 (SD = .53) and 16 (SD = .71) years old, respectively. At age 11, early childhood adversity (e.g., hospitalization, death within the family) between 0–5 years was assessed via parent interviews. At age 13, peer preference and peer popularity were assessed with peer nominations of classmates. At age 16, high sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP), a marker of low-grade systemic inflammation, was assessed with a venipuncture blood draw. Results showed that adolescents who were rated low on peer preference at age 13 exhibited higher levels of hsCRP at age 16. Importantly, these effects remained after controlling for several covariates, including age, sex, peer victimization, smoking behavior, SES, fat percentage, physical activity and temperament. Additionally, we found a positive effect of peer popularity on hsCRP that depended on early childhood adversity exposure. This suggests that for those adolescents who experienced little early childhood adversity, high levels of peer popularity were associated with high levels of hsCRP. Overall, these findings suggest that it is important to take into account the independent roles of peer preference and peer popularity, as specific types of peer status, to better understand adolescent systemic inflammation.