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Evolutionary Psychological Perspective on Peer Victimization: Relations with Attachment Security and Dating and Sexual History

Authors
  • McComb, Sarah E.1
  • Dane, Andrew V.2
  • 1 York University, Department of Psychology, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3, Canada , Toronto (Canada)
  • 2 Brock University, Department of Psychology, 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way, St. Catharines, ON, L2S 3A1, Canada , St. Catharines (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Evolutionary Psychological Science
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Nov 12, 2018
Volume
5
Issue
2
Pages
243–255
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s40806-018-0180-6
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

The present study examined peer victimization among adolescents from an evolutionary psychological perspective. With reference to sexual selection, life history theory, and attachment research, we investigated whether anxious and avoidant attachment was related directly and indirectly, through their effect on dating and sexual history, to physical, verbal, or relational victimization in adolescence. A total of 312 adolescents, aged 12–18 (Mage = 14.64, SDage = 1.52), were recruited from community organizations and completed self-report measures of attachment, dating and sexual history, and victimization. As predicted, avoidant attachment was indirectly related to both relational and verbal victimization for girls only, through the effects of number of dating or sexual partners. Significant direct effects were found only for avoidant attachment on verbal victimization. Results are discussed with regard to sex-specific aspects of fast life history strategies and intersexual selection. The findings add to a growing body of recent research suggesting the potential utility of developing and studying anti-bullying interventions incorporating components that address evolutionary psychological perspectives on bullying and peer victimization.

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