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Bullying prevalence rates vary widely, due in part to differences in types of bullying experiences by gender and age (Sreckovic et al., 2014). Relational bullying is particularly ambiguous (Morton et al., under review) with increased risk for females (Espelage & Napolitano, 2003) and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (Sasson, et al., 2012). Broadly, bullying increases through middle school and then decreases (Blake et al., 2012). The trajectory of relational bullying for youth with ASD is unclear. Parents of 155 youth ages 6-17 reported on their child's relational bullying experiences and completed the Social Responsiveness Scale, 2nd Edition (SRS-2) as a measure of ASD symptoms. Logistic regression results indicate females are over twice as likely to experience relational bullying compared to males (Odds Ratio (OR)=2.49, p=.046). Compared to middle school, relational bullying was less likely in elementary school (OR=0.41, p=.070) or high school (OR=0.26, p=.017). Examining the interaction between gender and grade (χ2(2)=3.58, p=0.167) revealed that female relational victimization remains high through high school but male rates reduce significantly (χ 2(1)=7.39, p=0.007). Relational bullying was also associated with greater social impairment (OR=1.05, p=.065). Identification of and intervention for relational bullying should focus on middle schoolers and high school females.



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Character Profile of Relational Bullying Victims