Day-to-day friends’ victimization, aggression perpetration, and morning cortisol activity in late adolescents

Reout Arbel, Hannah L. Schacter, Sohyun C. Han, Adela C. Timmons, Lauren Spies Shapiro, Gayla Margolin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates bidirectional associations between adolescents’ daily experiences of victimization and aggression perpetration within friendships. We investigated (a) across-day associations between victimization and aggression perpetration; (b) morning cortisol activity as a moderator of cross-day victimization and aggression links; and (c) potential sex differences in these patterns. For 4 consecutive days, 99 adolescents (Mage= 18.06, SD = 1.09, 46 females) reported whether they were victimized by or aggressive toward their friends. On three of these days, adolescents provided three morning saliva samples. Multilevel path analyses showed that across days, victimization and aggression were bidirectionally linked, but only for male adolescents. Additionally, for male adolescents, morning cortisol output (but not morning cortisol increase) moderated the association between victimization and next-day aggression; victimization predicted greater next-day aggression for boys with low, but not high, morning cortisol output. Findings implicate a physiological factor that may modify daily links between victimization and aggression in male adolescent friendships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)930-941
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding information This work has been supported by NIH-NICHD Grants R01 HD 046807, R21 HD 072170 and NSF BCS 1627272 (Margolin, PI), the American Association for University Women Fellowship, (Arbel, PI), NSF SPRF 1714304 (Schacter, PI), and NSF?SPRF 1606976 (Shapiro, PI). We thank our USC Family Studies Project colleagues as well as the families who participated in the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • HPA axis
  • adolescence
  • aggression perpetration
  • daily data
  • friend victimization
  • morning cortisol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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