Reciprocated Friendship as a Mediator of the Effects of Cooperative Learning on Peer Victimization in Middle School

Mark J. Van Ryzin, Cary J. Roseth, Sabina Low, Christopher M. Loan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Peer victimization represents a pervasive problem, particularly for students in middle school. Although curriculum-based prevention programs have generated small to moderate effects on victimization, these effects tend to weaken beginning with the transition to middle school. In this study, we evaluated cooperative learning (CL) as a mechanism to prevent victimization, and evaluated reciprocated friendships as a mediator of these effects. Using four waves of data from a cluster randomized trial of CL (7 intervention and 8 control middle schools; N = 1,890 students, 47.1% female, 75.2% White), we found that CL significantly reduced victimization after two years, and these effects were mediated by growth in the ratio of reciprocated friendship in the first year. We conclude that CL can reduce victimization by providing a means for students to engage in extended social interactions with a wider range of peers and thus creating opportunities for students to forge stronger (i.e., reciprocated) friendships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-353
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of School Violence
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • cooperative learning
  • middle school
  • mutual friendship
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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