Children's relational schemas have been found to account for, and moderate, links between peer victimization and psychosocial difficulties. The present study extends this research by examining whether children's mental representations of their teachers' responses to students' peer harassment moderate associations between peer victimization and internalizing distress and school avoidance. Data were collected from 264 children (124 boys and 140 girls) in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. A number of significant victimization × perceived teacher response interactions emerged, although the nature of these moderated associations often varied by children's sex. For boys, victimization was associated with greater internalizing distress only when they viewed their teacher as advocating assertion, avoidance, or independent coping. In fact, perceiving teachers to use low levels of these strategies appeared to protect victimized boys from internalizing problems. In comparison, although girls similarly evidenced greater internalizing problems when they viewed the teacher as using these strategies, no evidence was found of a buffering effect at low levels of perceiving the teacher as advocating avoidance, assertion, or independent coping. The results highlight the role of perceptions of the teacher in explicating individual differences in adjustment problems associated with peer victimization.


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pp. 333-360
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