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Journal Article


Schacter HL, Lessard LM, Kiperman S, Bakth F, Ehrhardt A, Uganski J. School Ment. Health 2021; 13(3): 578-601.


(Copyright © 2021, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group)






Although bullied adolescents experience elevated risk for adverse mental and physical health outcomes, some youth exhibit resilience in the face of peer victimization. Given the developmental importance of peer relationships during adolescence, much of the research examining protective factors that can mitigate bullying-related harm has focused on the role of friendships. However, the findings from studies testing the protective role of friendships for bullied youth have never been systematically reviewed. The goals of the current systematic review were to (a) synthesize the evidence for the protective effect of friendships (quantity and quality) on the mental and physical health of peer victimized adolescents and (b) provide corresponding recommendations for school-based health practitioners to facilitate appropriate supports among socially vulnerable youth in educational settings. A total of 37 studies were identified and evaluated. Approximately half of studies were cross-sectional and most tested friendship quality as a moderator of links between peer victimization and mental health. Although some studies provided evidence for a protective function of friendships, others yielded null effects or found that close friendships amplified victimization-related distress. Given the inconsistency of findings, school-based health practitioners should be aware of the various ways that friendships may, or may not, buffer bullied adolescents from negative health outcomes. Further replication of friendship buffering effects will be essential for guiding school-based bullying prevention and intervention efforts.

Language: en


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