Congruence of Self-Other Perceptions about Competence, Peer Victimization, and Bullying as Predictors of Self-Reported Emotions

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2006-12-13

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This study examined self-, teacher-, and peer-perceptions of competence, peer victimization, and bullying behavior as they relate to self-reported depression, anxiety, anger, and global self-worth. Participants included 99 second- and third-grade students and their teachers from one school located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. The sample of students was ethnically diverse (66.7% African American, 17.2% Hispanic, 11.1% Asian American, 5.1% White). Preliminary analyses were conducted to examine the relationships among self-perceptions. As expected, self-perceptions of competence (social acceptance, behavioral conduct, academic competence) positively correlated with one another, where self-perceived victimization and bullying negatively correlated with self-perceived social acceptance and behavioral conduct. As expected, the aforementioned self-perceptions were significantly related to self-reported emotions. Here, self-perceived victimization uniquely predicted self-reported depression and anxiety scores, self-perceived academic competence uniquely predicted self-reported anger scores, and self-perceived academic competence and behavioral conduct uniquely predicted global self-worth scores. Two sets of hypotheses were tested regarding the congruence of self-, teacher-, and peer-perceptions. First, as predicted, teacher- and peer-perceptions more strongly related with one another than with self-perceptions. Linked to this finding, self-perceived victimization and bullying were more highly predictive of self-reported competence, where teacher- and peer-perceived victimization and bullying were more highly predictive of teacher- and peer-reported competence. Second, the relative impact of self-perceptions and discrepancies between self- and other-perceptions on self-reported emotions was examined. This is a departure from past research, which has typically examined self-other discrepancies independent of self-perceptions. Results showed that self-perceptions were more strongly related to self-reported emotions than were self-other discrepancies. However, interactions between these variables in a subset of the analyses argue for the inclusion of self- and other-perceptions in this line of research. The pattern of interactions suggests that discrepancies between self- and other-perceptions had little impact on self-reported emotions for children who reported low competence or high victimization. These children tended to report more negative emotions compared to peers whether their self-appraisals agreed or disagreed with others' appraisals. Conversely, children who reported high competence or low victimization often reported more negative emotions compared to peers when their appraisals were unfavorable relative to others' appraisals.

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