A classmate at your side: Teacher practices, peer victimization, and network connections in urban schools

Elise Cappella, Jennifer Watling Neal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines whether structural (class size, gender composition, and grade level) and relational (normative behaviors and teacher support) aspects of classrooms are associated with increased social connections among children experiencing peer victimization. Peer sociometric and social network measures were collected from 418 African-American children in 33s to fourth grade classrooms. Classroom observations were conducted to assess teachers' provision of emotional support. Analysis accounting for children nested within classrooms demonstrated that classroom structural and relational characteristics attenuated the negative association between peer victimization and network centrality. In classrooms with fewer students or more female students, as well as in classrooms with higher levels of teacher emotional support, peer victims were less isolated in the peer network. Furthermore, several classroom structural factors (i.e., grade level and gender composition) and relational factors (i.e., peer normative behaviors and teacher emotional support) predicted network centrality. Findings generate hypotheses for future research and classroom intervention to build access to social resources for peer victims in urban schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalSchool Mental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Peer victimization
  • Social networks
  • Teacher practices
  • Urban classrooms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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