Not Just A Playground Issue: Bullying Among Older Adults

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Not Just A Playground Issue: Bullying Among Older Adults

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Title: Not Just A Playground Issue: Bullying Among Older Adults
Author: Rex-Lear, Madeline
Abstract: This dissertation examined associations between peer bullying and physical and psychological health problems for a community dwelling population of older adults (> 60 years). Participants' age ranged from 60-99 years (M = 74, SD = 8.27). Frequency and severity of physical health problems were measured while controlling for retrospective reports of past health problems and past victimization. Approximately 24% of older adults reported being bullied by their peers. Current victimization predicted physical health problems and somatic complaints, but the magnitude of the effect was stronger for men than it was for women. Current victimization also predicted both internalizing and externalizing problems, especially for men. Current social support was examined as a potential buffer against negative health outcomes while co-rumination was thought to aggravate the negative outcomes associated with victimization. Contrary to expectations these measures did not support a) that social support buffers victimization effects and b) that co-rumination exacerbates the victimization-physical health link. Although social support did not moderate the influence of victimization on health, it did have an additive effect such that poorer support contributed to more health problems. In addition, co-rumination did exacerbate reports of internalizing problems. This research was the first to examine the victimization-physical health link in independent living senior adults and suggests that peer bullying and the negative outcomes associated with it do not wash out with age.
Date: 2011-10-11

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