Resilience following adolescent victimisation: An exploration into protective factors across development

Jessica M Armitage*, Adele A Wang, Oliver S.P. Davis, Philip Collard, Claire M A Haworth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)


Background: Not all victims of bullying go on to develop problems with their mental health. To understand factors that may confer resilience, many have explored the moderating role of protective factors. No study to date, however, has considered moderators of adult wellbeing following victimisation. We explore 15 potential protective factors, and test whether these not only reduce the risk of mental illness following victimisation, but whether they also promote good adult wellbeing following victimisation. In doing so, we aimed to further understanding of resilience to victimisation.

Methods: Data were derived from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and included participants assessed for depressive symptoms and wellbeing aged 23, adolescent victimisation, and a range of protective factors across development. Protective factors were categorised into individual-, family-, and peer-level, and included social and school abilities, emotional control, and relationships with family and peers. The moderating role of the protective factors were examined using interactive regression models.

Results: Of the 15 protective factors, childhood scholastic competence was the only factor that mitigated some of the negative effects of victimisation. Individuals with higher scholastic competence had higher wellbeing in adulthood than victims with lower scholastic competence. This finding did not however remain after correction for multiple testing. No protective factors moderated the risk of depressive symptoms among victims; although, findings suggest that friendships in late adolescence may be protective for individuals exposed to less frequent victimisation.

Conclusions: Our study is the first to explore a wide range of protective factors in predicting adult mental health and wellbeing following victimisation. We identify factors involved in supporting mental wellbeing but not in reducing the risk of depression. Findings suggest that interventions aimed at increasing scholastic competence in childhood may help to support more positive wellbeing in adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry Advances
Publication statusIn preparation - 11 Jan 2021

Cite this