Walker, D'Andre (2020). Vicarious Victimization, Negative Emotions, and Maladaptive Coping: Investigating the Role of Violent Peers. Violence Vict.
According to general strain theory's (GST) vicarious strain hypothesis, individuals' behavior is influenced by witnessing or having knowledge of others' stressful experiences, especially those within their network. Drawing on Agnew's GST, the current study examines the relationship between peer victimization and violent offending, as well as the potential intervening factors in this relationship. The primary research questions are: (a) does vicarious strain occur through having friends who are victimized? And (b) what role does violent peers play in the coping process? Data for the analysis were obtained from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescents to Adult Health's friendship network data. Results from multivariate analysis show that victimization of ones' friend (or peer victimization) is associated with depression as well as personal involvement in violent offending. This relationship, however, is fully mediated by depression. Regarding deviant peers, a three-way interaction effect was observed, specifically peer victimization, involvement with peers, and associating violent peers was a significant predictor of violent offending. Findings from the current study highlight the importance of considering the role of deviant peers in the coping process. Results lend support to Agnew's GST. Implications for theory and research are discussed.