The effect of supervisory neglect on adolescent peer victimization: Mediating role of self-esteem and internalizing problems

Seunghee Baeg, Boram Lee, Hye Jun Park - Children and Youth Services Review


Past research indicates that parental maltreatment increases the risk of problems in adolescence; however, research is limited on how a specific form of maltreatment, supervisory neglect, is associated with the experience of peer victimization. In this study, we aim to help clarify the pathway from parental supervisory neglect to peer victimization through the mediating roles of self-esteem and internalizing problems among adolescents in South Korea. Data were derived from the Korea Welfare Panel Study of 2009 which included 605 middle school-aged adolescents (299 girls and 306 boys). The structural equation modeling used in this study revealed that supervisory neglect was indirectly associated with peer victimization through a sequential pathway of self-esteem and internalizing problems. More specifically, self-esteem and internalizing problems were not direct mediators in the relationship between supervisory neglect and peer victimization, instead, it suggested concurrent effects by mediating this relationship sequentially. Our results indicate that adolescents who experience supervisory neglect in their relationships with their parents may develop lower self-esteem, which then leads to higher levels of internalizing problems, which in turn leads to higher levels of peer victimization. Research implications are highlighted.