Relationship between peer victimization and reactive–proactive aggression in school children

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-358
Journal / PublicationPsychology of Violence
Issue number3
Online published25 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


Objective: Prior research has shown that reactive aggression is positively related to general peer victimization, whereas the findings for proactive aggression are mixed. This study aimed to investigate which specific forms of the peer-victimization model are related to reactive and proactive aggression. With the model, developed by Mynard and Joseph (2000), they identified 4 specific factors of peer victimization according to their nature, namely (a) Physical Victimization, (b) Verbal Victimization, (c) Social Manipulation, and (d) Attacks on Property. Method: We tested the hypotheses that the 4-factor peer-victimization model applies to Chinese youth and that reactive and proactive aggression have specific relationships with the 4 factors in the model. The Reactive-Proactive Aggression Questionnaire (RPQ; Raine et al., 2006) was administered to 8,604 Hong Kong Chinese schoolchildren, 8-16 years of age, selected from 10 primary and 10 secondary schools, to assess their Reactive and Proactive Aggression. Results: The results of confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the 4-factor peer-victimization model fit the sample well. After controlling for Reactive Aggression, Proactive Aggression was positively associated with Physical Victimization and Attacks on Property, but negatively associated with Verbal Victimization. After controlling for Proactive Aggression, Reactive Aggression was positively associated with Social Manipulation, Physical Victimization, and Verbal Victimization. Conclusion: The results suggest that the 4-factor peer-victimization model applies to Hong Kong Chinese schoolchildren and that there are significant relationships between peer victimization (total and 4 forms) and Reactive Aggression, and significant relationships exist between peer victimization (total and 3 out of 4 forms) and Proactive Aggression.

Research Area(s)

  • peer victimization, proactive aggression, reactive aggression, relationship strength