The role of sleep problems in the relationship between peer victimization and antisocial behavior: A five-year longitudinal study

Ling Yin Chang, Wen Chi Wu, Chi Chen Wu, Linen Nymphas Lin, Lee Lan Yen, Hsing Yi Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale Peer victimization in children and adolescents is a serious public health concern. Growing evidence exists for negative consequences of peer victimization, but research has mostly been short term and little is known about the mechanisms that moderate and mediate the impacts of peer victimization on subsequent antisocial behavior. Objective The current study intended to examine the longitudinal relationship between peer victimization in adolescence and antisocial behavior in young adulthood and to determine whether sleep problems influence this relationship. Methods In total, 2006 adolescents participated in a prospective study from 2009 to 2013. The moderating role of sleep problems was examined by testing the significance of the interaction between peer victimization and sleep problems. The mediating role of sleep problems was tested by using bootstrapping mediational analyses. All analyses were conducted using SAS 9.3 software. Results We found that peer victimization during adolescence was positively and significantly associated with antisocial behavior in young adulthood (β = 0.10, p < 0.0001). This association was mediated, but not moderated by sleep problems. Specifically, peer victimization first increased levels of sleep problems, which in turn elevated the risk of antisocial behavior (indirect effect: 0.01, 95% bootstrap confidence interval: 0.004, 0.021). Conclusion These findings imply that sleep problems may operate as a potential mechanism through which peer victimization during adolescence leads to increases in antisocial behavior in young adulthood. Prevention and intervention programs that target sleep problems may yield benefits for decreasing antisocial behavior in adolescents who have been victimized by peers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-133
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Peer victimization
  • Sleep problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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