The Role of Sleep Quality in Associations between Peer Victimization and Internalizing Symptoms

  • Elizabeth C. TampkeEmail author
  • Jennifer B. Blossom
  • Paula J. Fite


Peer victimization is strongly associated with depression and anxiety symptoms; however, not all victimized youth experience these internalizing symptoms. Accordingly, factors that contribute to these associations need to be examined. The current study examined the potential moderating role of sleep in the associations between peer victimization and internalizing symptoms in a middle childhood sample, as this developmental stage marks a period when children are at increased risk for both poor quality sleep and peer victimization. Participants were 293 elementary school children (51.5% female, 8–12 years old). Children self-reported on sleep quality, two forms of peer victimization (i.e., relational and overt), and anxiety and depression symptoms. Results indicated that sleep quality was negatively correlated with both depressive and anxious symptoms as well as both forms of victimization. Additionally, both forms of victimization were positively correlated with depressive and anxious symptoms. Moreover, poor sleep quality was found to exacerbate the link between relational victimization and depressive symptoms during middle childhood. Findings have implications for targeting sleep with victimized youth to prevent depressive symptoms.


Relational victimization Overt victimization Sleep Anxiety Depression 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interests

Elizabeth C. Tampke, Jennifer B. Blossom, and Paula J. Fite declare that they have no conflict of interest with the study.

Ethical Approval

All study procedures were approved by and conducted in accordance with the institutional review board of the University of Kansas.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was attained from the parents of all participants and assent was attained from all participants in accordance with the institutional review board of the University of Kansas.

Experiment Participants

All procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Child Psychology ProgramUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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