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Peer victimization can have a profound effect on children’s wellbeing and is a known risk factor for depression in childhood. Migrant children experience peer victimization at higher rates than non-migrant peers; however, limited research has examined psychological factors that may serve to reduce depression risk for this group. In particular, no studies have yet investigated whether resilience, including personal characteristics, and a strong social support network, may moderate the relationship between peer victimization and depressive symptoms for migrant children. This study utilized a latent interaction model to examine the effect of resilience on the relationship between peer victimization and depressive symptoms among 721 rural-to-urban migrant children in Beijing, China. Results indicated that peer victimization was positively associated with depressive symptoms. Resilience was found to be a protective factor for depressive symptoms and also mitigated the effects of peer victimization on depressive symptoms. Exploratory analyses suggest that enrollment in private migrant schools may be linked with poorer psychosocial outcomes for Chinese migrant children. Strengthening the internal resilience and social supports for all migrant children may be an effective strategy to lower their risk for depression. Implications for intervention are discussed.

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APA Citation

Ye Z, Chen L, Harrison SE, Guo H, Li X and Lin D (2016) Peer Victimization and Depressive Symptoms Among Rural-to-Urban Migrant Children in China: The Protective Role of Resilience. Front. Psychol. 7:1542. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01542