Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Laurence C. Elledge

Committee Members

Jenny Macfie, Todd M. Moore


This study examined the effects of elementary school children’s bullying and victimization experiences on their friendships over time. The majority of children experience acts of aggression or bullying before the end of elementary school, and bullying and peer victimization is associated with academic, social, behavioral, and psychological difficulties. This study used social networks analysis (R SIENA 4.0) to examine whether peer reports of forms of bullying and victimization (i.e., overt and relational) affect the likelihood of friendship selection, reciprocation, and maintenance in 2nd-4th grade children. Children (N = 143) from the Midwestern region of the United States completed a peer nomination inventory that included questions pertaining to their friendships and classmates’ bullying behaviors and peer victimization experiences. Analyses compared unique models containing novel effects with traditionally tested selection-only models. Results from the unique effects models showed that friendship maintenance was less likely for children who engaged in overt bullying or experienced relational bullying. Selection-only models were not sufficient in detecting the maintenance effect, and instead showed only a decreased likelihood to receive friendship nomination for children who engage in overt bullying or experience relational victimization. Results point to friendship maintenance as a potentially important area for focused intervention in bullying and victimization.

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