Peer victimization and social phobia: a follow-up study among adolescents.

Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology

PubMedID: 23052422

Ranta K, Kaltiala-Heino R, Fröjd S, Marttunen M. Peer victimization and social phobia: a follow-up study among adolescents. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013;48(4):533-44.
This study examined longitudinal associations between direct and relational peer victimization (DV/RV) and self-reported social phobia (SP) among adolescents from 15 to 17 years of age, controlling for depression and family socioeconomic covariates.

A total of 3,278 Finnish adolescents with a mean age of 15.5 years were surveyed at baseline (T1), and followed up 2 years afterwards (T2) their mean age being 17.6 years. In all, 2,070 adolescents were reached for the follow-up. Both types of victimization were assessed with structured questions, SP with the Social Phobia Inventory, and depression with the 13-item Beck Depression Inventory. Socioeconomic covariates were assessed with items from the Life Events Checklist. Frequency of victimization and SP were assessed at T1 and T2, and incidence and persistence from T1 to T2. Longitudinal associations between victimization and SP were examined with three logistic regression analyses with depression and socioeconomic covariates controlled for, with SP, DV, and RV in turn as the dependent endpoint (T2) variables.

Among boys a bidirectional association between DV and SP was found with DV both predicting SP [Odds Ratio (OR) 2.6] and being predicted by SP (OR 3.9). Among girls RV predicted SP (OR 2.8), but not vice versa, while depression in turn predicted DV (OR 4.3).

Direct victimization and SP have a bidirectional association among boys, while among girls RV increases the risk of subsequent SP.