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Open AccessArticle

Peer Victimization in Overweight Adolescents and Its Effect on Their Self-Esteem and Peer Difficulties

1
Department of Psychology, University of Oviedo, Plaza Feijóo, s/n, 33003 Oviedo, Spain
2
Department of Psychology, University of Almería. Ctra, Sacramento s/n, 04120 Almería, Spain
3
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Technical and Artistic University of Paraguay, Mayor Sebastián Bullo, s/n, Asunción 1628, Paraguay
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010016
Received: 21 November 2019 / Revised: 15 December 2019 / Accepted: 15 December 2019 / Published: 18 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyber-Aggression among Adolescents and Psychological Wellbeing)
This study has three objectives: to examine whether adolescents who perceive themselves as overweight differ from others in terms of offline victimization at school, cybervictimization, self-esteem, and difficulties relating to peers; to examine the possible effects of offline and cybervictimization on self-esteem and difficulties relating to peers; and to examine the possible moderating role of perceiving oneself as overweight on those effects. Previously validated questionnaires were applied to a sample of 3145 adolescents in Asturias (Spain). Descriptive, inferential, correlational, and structural equation analyses were performed. Adolescents who perceived themselves as overweight reported being victims of both offline victimization and most forms of cybervictimization to a greater extent than those who did not perceive themselves as overweight. They also reported lower self-esteem and more peer difficulties (shyness or social anxiety). In both groups of adolescents, victimization and cybervictimization were correlated with each other, both types of victimization had direct, negative effects on self-esteem, and self-esteem in turn had a direct, negative effect on peer difficulties. Furthermore, offline victimization had a direct, positive effect on peer difficulties. Perceiving oneself as overweight moderated the effect of self-esteem on peer difficulties. In adolescents perceiving themselves as overweight, low self-esteem was a stronger risk factor of peer difficulties than in the rest of the adolescents. With high overall self-esteem there were no significant differences in peer difficulties between the adolescents perceiving themselves as overweight and the rest of the adolescents. View Full-Text
Keywords: victimization; cybervictimization; overweight; adolescents; self-esteem; peer difficulties; shyness; social anxiety victimization; cybervictimization; overweight; adolescents; self-esteem; peer difficulties; shyness; social anxiety
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Álvarez-García, D.; Núñez, A.; Pérez-Fuentes, M.C.; Núñez, J.C. Peer Victimization in Overweight Adolescents and Its Effect on Their Self-Esteem and Peer Difficulties. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 16.

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