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<p>School transitions may appear to be a fresh start, yet peer victimization peaks during transition years (Pellegrini & Long, 2002). Given that victimization is associated with anxiety and depression (Moore et al., 2017), it is important to understand what contributes to increased victimization. A promising contributor is how victims explain the cause of their treatment. Self-blame implies an internal, stable cause, and predicts victimization across the first year of middle school (Schacter, Juvonen, 2015). The goal of the study is to examine whether the tendency to blame oneself for being bullied predicts an increased sense of victimization from 8th to 9th grade, using self-reports of self-perceived victimization and characterological self-blame (CSB) from a large, ethnically diverse sample of 2,866 adolescents (55% female). CSB was assessed using hypothetical vignettes that gauge perceptions of personal fault. Preliminary analyses show that 8th grade CSB predicts increases in perceptions of peer victimization across the transition to high school, suggesting that blaming oneself for peer victimization is a risk factor that could be targeted for intervention in middle school.</p>
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