Juvenile offenders are at risk for involvement in both fighting behavior and peer victimization. Understanding the potential causal mechanisms leading to these outcomes is important to address the needs of this population. The present study tested four mediator models of violent perpetration and peer victimization in a sample of 112 incarcerated youth (68 males and 44 females). In the models, the relationship between child physical and emotional abuse and fighting and victimization was expected to be mediated by impulsiveness, depression, and drug use. Multiple mediator models were tested according to Preacher and Hayes (2008). Depression fully mediated the relation between child emotional abuse and victimization and partially mediated the relation between child physical abuse and victimization. Drug use fully mediated the relation between child emotional abuse and fighting. These results suggest that treatment of depressive symptoms and drug use among juvenile offenders with a history of child physical or emotional abuse may limit violent perpetration and peer victimization in this population.
Psychological Services 10(1): 1-11