Profiles of Reactivity to Bullying Victimization: Genetic and Family Environment Predictors Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Eastman, Meridith
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior
  • This dissertation identified profiles of internalizing (anxiety and depression) and externalizing (delinquency and violence against peers) reactivity to bullying victimization (Aim 1) and then examined the influence of bullying characteristics (type—i.e., direct, indirect, dual—and frequency) (Aim 2), family characteristics (parental warmth and family conflict) (Aim 3), and selected genetic polymorphisms (5-HTTLPR, BDNF, and MAOA) (Aim 4) on membership in these profiles. The sample for addressing Aims 1-3 was 1,196 bullying victims who participated in the Context/Linkages Study in three North Carolina counties in Fall 2003 when they were in grades 8-10. The sample for addressing Aim 4 was a subset (n=281) of bullying victims who provided a biospecimen for genotyping. Five profiles were identified using latent profile analysis (Aim 1): a non-reactive profile and four profiles that captured combinations of internalizing and externalizing. Associations between bullying type and frequency on membership in these reactivity profiles were identified in Aim 2 using multinomial logistic regression. Direct victimization (i.e., physical violence, name calling) increased odds of membership in the high internalizers, high externalizers profile compared to all other profiles. Indirect victimization (i.e., damage to social relationships) increased odds of membership in the high internalizing profiles compared to the lower internalizing profiles. Dual (i.e., direct and indirect) victimization increased odds of membership in the high internalizers, high externalizers profile compared to each other profile. More frequent victimization increased odds of membership in the two high internalizing reactivity profiles compared to the non-reactor profile. Aim 3 tested the stress-buffering effects of parental warmth and the exacerbating effects of family conflict using logistic regression. The effects of parental warmth were different for boys and girls, with girls disproportionately benefitting from parental warmth. Family conflict increased likelihood of membership in the high internalizing, high externalizing profile compared to all others. The buffering and exacerbating effects were the same regardless of the frequency of the victimization experienced. Binary logistic regression analysis used for Aim 4 revealed no association between reactivity profile membership and genotype for the three candidate genes. Implications for intervention include recognition of heterogeneity in response to bullying and inclusion of family members.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Reyes, H. Luz McNaughton
  • Sotres-Alvarez, Daniela
  • Ennett, Susan
  • North, Kari
  • Faris, Robert
  • Foshee, Vangie
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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