Relations Among Peer Victimization, Aggression, And School Climate in Elementary School Students

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Peer victimization in schools is a growing concern in China, where prevalence rates range from 22-26.1% (Han, Zhang, & Zhang, 2017; Cheng et al., 2010). Peer victimization is linked to many negative outcomes, including increased aggression (Arsenault et al., 2006; Averdijk et al., 2016). A positive school climate, which includes factors that support learning, physical and emotional safety, connection, support, and engagement, may serve as a protective factor against both peer victimization and its negative outcomes. This study examined the longitudinal relations between peer victimization, aggression, and school climate by examining self-report survey data collected from 800 3rd to 6th-grade students in China. Results indicated that a positive school climate was a significant moderator of the positive relationship between peer victimization and later aggression. These findings have important implications for the role of school climate as protective against later behavioral difficulties for victimized students.