CHARACTERISTICS OF BULLIES AND VICTIMS IN ADOLESCENT AGGRESSION (VICTIMIZATION, SCAPEGOATING)
FLOYD, NATHANIEL MACLYN
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This study investigated the characteristics of adolescent Bullies and Victims with the aim of describing the conditions which give rise to and maintain aggressive behavior. The subjects were 72 7th and 8th grade middle school boys in suburban New York City. Identification of groups was accomplished by a sociometric instrument, the Health Class Survey. Joint nominations between (1) teacher and peers, (2) peers and self, and (3) teacher, peers, and self yielded 18 Bullies, 19 Victims, and 35 Others. Antecedent family conditions were studied by means of the Parental Acceptance-Rejection Questionnaire. Current functioning was studied with the Piers-Harris Children's Self Concept Scale and the Stanford Achievement Test. Victims showed significantly greater self-esteem on P-H Behavior (p < .01), while Bullies obtained significantly greater self-esteem through P-H Popularity (p < .01) and P-H Physical Appearance (p < .05). Victims were significantly higher than Bullies in terms of academic functioning on 4 of 6 SAT measures, including Total Reading and Total Math (p < .05, p < .05). The PARQ did not show significant differences except on PARQ Rejection: Mothers of Bullies are seen as more rejecting. Additional analyses also provided some support for the hypothesis that Bullies perceive their mothers as more rejecting. The results were interpreted as suggesting that the experience of rejecting disciplinary practices at home provides a model for aggressive behavior as a learned response. It was speculated that overprotective parents foster conditions that are likely to lead to victim status.