The Association between Teacher–Student and Peer Relationships and the Escalation of Peer School Victimization

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Peer school victimization via minor and less severe forms of violence may predict victimization via more severe and major forms of violence. Nonetheless, very rarely are the escalating patterns of violence addressed theoretically or empirically tested. In the school context, the quality of peer and teacher–student relationships are critical determinants of peer victimization, although inconclusive mechanisms have been suggested to establish associations among students’ interpersonal relationships and peer victimization. To address prior inconsistencies and better conceptualize theoretical knowledge of these associations, this study developed and tested a path model of peer and teacher–student relationships and peer victimization via relational, verbal, and physical victimization. Secondary data analysis of a nationally representative sample of fifth- and eighth-grade students in Israel (N = 75,852) revealed an escalation pattern across types of victimization, in which relational victimization was associated with victimization via verbal and physical violence. Although both types of relationships significantly influenced victimization, peer relationships had the strongest effect, beyond the influence of teacher–student relationships. The identified empirical links among interpersonal relationships and peer victimization can support theoretical and operational frameworks essential to preventing school victimization and protecting students from negative educational, social, and emotional outcomes. Finally, we suggest important directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2243-2265
Number of pages23
JournalChild Indicators Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • peer relationships
  • peer victimization
  • school violence
  • teacher–student relationships
  • violence escalation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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