Heart rate (variability) and the association between relational peer victimization and internalizing symptoms in elementary school children

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Abstract

Relational victimization typically emerges first during the elementary school period, and has been associated with increased levels of internalizing symptoms in children. Individual differences in autonomic nervous system functioning have been suggested as a potential factor linking social stressors and internalizing symptoms. The aim of this study was therefore to examine whether heart rate and heart rate variability mediated the association between relational victimization and internalizing symptoms in 373 mainstream elementary school children. Children were assessed in 2015 (T0; Grades 3-5, M age = 9.78 years, 51% boys) and reassessed in 2016 (T1). Heart rate and heart rate variability were assessed during a regular school day at T1. A multi-informant (teacher and peer report) cross-time measure of relational victimization, and a multi-informant (self- and teacher report) measure of internalizing problems at T1 was used. Results showed that heart rate variability, but not heart rate, mediated the association between relational victimization and internalizing symptoms. This study provides tentative support that in children from a general population sample, a psychobiological factor may mediate the association of relational victimization with internalizing symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Apr 2019

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Crime Victims
Heart Rate
Autonomic Nervous System
Individuality
Self Report
Population

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title = "Heart rate (variability) and the association between relational peer victimization and internalizing symptoms in elementary school children",
abstract = "Relational victimization typically emerges first during the elementary school period, and has been associated with increased levels of internalizing symptoms in children. Individual differences in autonomic nervous system functioning have been suggested as a potential factor linking social stressors and internalizing symptoms. The aim of this study was therefore to examine whether heart rate and heart rate variability mediated the association between relational victimization and internalizing symptoms in 373 mainstream elementary school children. Children were assessed in 2015 (T0; Grades 3-5, M age = 9.78 years, 51{\%} boys) and reassessed in 2016 (T1). Heart rate and heart rate variability were assessed during a regular school day at T1. A multi-informant (teacher and peer report) cross-time measure of relational victimization, and a multi-informant (self- and teacher report) measure of internalizing problems at T1 was used. Results showed that heart rate variability, but not heart rate, mediated the association between relational victimization and internalizing symptoms. This study provides tentative support that in children from a general population sample, a psychobiological factor may mediate the association of relational victimization with internalizing symptoms.",
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AU - Behnsen, Pia

AU - Buil, Joanne Marieke

AU - Koot, Susanne

AU - Huizink, Anja

AU - van Lier, Pol

PY - 2019/4/29

Y1 - 2019/4/29

N2 - Relational victimization typically emerges first during the elementary school period, and has been associated with increased levels of internalizing symptoms in children. Individual differences in autonomic nervous system functioning have been suggested as a potential factor linking social stressors and internalizing symptoms. The aim of this study was therefore to examine whether heart rate and heart rate variability mediated the association between relational victimization and internalizing symptoms in 373 mainstream elementary school children. Children were assessed in 2015 (T0; Grades 3-5, M age = 9.78 years, 51% boys) and reassessed in 2016 (T1). Heart rate and heart rate variability were assessed during a regular school day at T1. A multi-informant (teacher and peer report) cross-time measure of relational victimization, and a multi-informant (self- and teacher report) measure of internalizing problems at T1 was used. Results showed that heart rate variability, but not heart rate, mediated the association between relational victimization and internalizing symptoms. This study provides tentative support that in children from a general population sample, a psychobiological factor may mediate the association of relational victimization with internalizing symptoms.

AB - Relational victimization typically emerges first during the elementary school period, and has been associated with increased levels of internalizing symptoms in children. Individual differences in autonomic nervous system functioning have been suggested as a potential factor linking social stressors and internalizing symptoms. The aim of this study was therefore to examine whether heart rate and heart rate variability mediated the association between relational victimization and internalizing symptoms in 373 mainstream elementary school children. Children were assessed in 2015 (T0; Grades 3-5, M age = 9.78 years, 51% boys) and reassessed in 2016 (T1). Heart rate and heart rate variability were assessed during a regular school day at T1. A multi-informant (teacher and peer report) cross-time measure of relational victimization, and a multi-informant (self- and teacher report) measure of internalizing problems at T1 was used. Results showed that heart rate variability, but not heart rate, mediated the association between relational victimization and internalizing symptoms. This study provides tentative support that in children from a general population sample, a psychobiological factor may mediate the association of relational victimization with internalizing symptoms.

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