Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition
Studies have shown that children and parents provide different reports of children's victimization, with children often reporting more victimization. However, the reason for this differential reporting is unclear. This study explored two types of social biases (emotion recognition and perceived impairment) in parents and children as possible reasons underlying differential reporting. Six- to 10-year-old children and one of their parents were tested in a lab. Testing included subjective measures of parent alexithymic traits, child perceived impairment from victimization, and child- and parent-reported frequency of children's peer victimization and internalizing and externalizing difficulties. Parents and children also completed an objective measure of emotion recognition. Both types of social bias significantly predicted reports of children's peer victimization frequency as well as internalizing and externalizing difficulties, as rated by parents and children. Moreover, child perceived impairment bias, rather than parent emotion bias, best predicted differential reporting of peer victimization. Finally, a significant interaction demonstrated that the influence of child perceived impairment bias on differential reporting was most salient in the presence of parent emotion bias. This underscores the importance of expanding interventions for victimized youth to include the restructuring of social biases.