Same- and Other-Sex Victimization: Are the Risk Factors Similar?
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
Risk factors for same- and other-sex victimization were examined in a longitudinal data set involving 9- to 14-year-old students. The findings regarding same-sex victimization supported the view that bullies select personally and interpersonally vulnerable targets in order to maximize their gains in status while minimizing loss of affection within their same-sex peer group. Although low self-esteem was a joint predictor of same- and other-sex victimization, rejection and lack of friends among other-sex peers failed to predict victimization by other-sex bullies, and being perceived as popular among other-sex peers increased the risk. Although the findings suggests that interpersonal risk factors for other-sex victimization differ from those found for same-sex victimization, they do not provide strong support for heterosexual interest being the basis for other-sex target selection, as suggested by some previous literature. As about half of the study participants were involved in the KiVa antibullying program, we had the possibility to examine whether the program effects were similar for same- and other-sex victimization. It turned out that in middle schools the program decreased only same-sex victimization, whereas in elementary school the decrease was observed regardless of the sex composition of bully-victim dyads.