Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Linda Raffaele Mendez, Ph.D.


Hope, Middle school, Perceived social support, Spirituality, Urban


This study explored the relationship between relational victimization and depression among middle school students (n = 153) in an urban school in Florida. The majority of participants were African-American and Hispanic at-risk youth. This study is one of the first to study how positive protective factors (i.e., hope, spirituality, perceived social support) moderate the relationship between victim status and depression. A mixed methods design was used to gain further insight into the survey data collected. Findings from the study indicated that hope and perceived social support were statistically significant moderator variables. Additionally, results from the qualitative interviews suggested that teachers, parents, and siblings play an important role in supporting victimized students. Implications for gender and culturally sensitive interventions are discussed. Possible avenues for future research are also outlined.