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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00868

Comparisons between adolescent bullies, victims, and bully-victims on perceived popularity, social impact and social preference

  • 1Staffordshire University, United Kingdom
  • 2University of Warwick, United Kingdom
  • 3University of Ottawa, Canada
  • 4Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, United Kingdom

This study investigated the effect of bullying role, i.e., bully, victim, and bully-victim, on three measures of peer status; perceived popularity, social preference, and social impact. In addition to completing peer nominations for these measures of peer status, adolescents (n=2,721) aged 11 to 16 years from 5 secondary schools completed an online survey that assessed bullying involvement (self- and peer-reported), self-esteem, and behavioral difficulties. Compared to uninvolved adolescents, all bullying roles had a greater social impact. Bullies scored higher than all other roles for perceived popularity, whereas victims and bully-victims were the lowest in social preference. These significant group comparisons remained when controlling for demographic variables, behavioral difficulties, self-esteem and prosocial behavior. Overall, the perceived popularity found for bullies suggests that these adolescents are socially rewarded by peers for their victimization of others. These findings highlight the need to address the whole peer system in raising the social status of those who are victimized, whilst reducing the rewards received by bullies for their behavior.

Keywords: Bullying, Victimization, Peer status, peer relationships, adolescence

Received: 12 Apr 2019; Accepted: 04 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Guy, Lee and Wolke. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Dieter Wolke, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, West Midlands, United Kingdom,