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Psychology 3260: Personality & Social Development. Don Hartmann Spring 2007 Lecture 23b: Bullying. Other Administration. No office hour or class on Friday. Must attend SRCD in Boston.

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Psychology 3260 personality social development l.jpg

Psychology 3260: Personality & Social Development

Don Hartmann

Spring 2007

Lecture 23b: Bullying

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Other Administration

  • No office hour or class on Friday. Must attend SRCD in Boston.

  • If you are an A student in our class, and would like to do some tutoring (for extra-credit points—a little boost to an A+), please email me.

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Supplementary References

Please note style!

  • Olweus, D. (1994). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Oxford, UK: Blackwell. [Primary lecture reference.]

  • Olweus, D. (1978). Aggression in the schools: bullies and whipping boys. Washington: Hemisphere Publishing.

  • Olweus, D., Limber, S, & Mihalic, S. F. (1998). Bullying prevention. Boulder, CO: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.

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  • First began to attract scientific attention in Scandinavia in the ‘60s

  • In the early 80s things really started cooking with the report that three early adolescents in Norway had committed suicide as a result of being the victims of bullying

  • Scandinavian, English, and US investigators primary contributors

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Definition & Incidence

  • A student is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students

  • Incidence

    • 15% of kids in primary and junior high were involved in bully/victim problems at least “now and then”. 9% victims and 7% bullies; some victims also were bullies.

    • About 5% were involved in serious bullying

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Forms of Bullying

  • Verbal harassment is more common among both boys and girls than is physical bullying.

  • Physical bullying with is more common among boys

  • Girls often use more subtle and indirect ways of harassment such as slandering, spreading of rumors, and manipulation of friendship relationships

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Where Does Bullying Occur


  • The majority of bullying takes place in school—rather than going to or coming from school

  • Size of school, class and location of school seem to make little difference.

  • It is correlated—negatively—with teacher density.

  • The attitudes of teachers toward bully/victim problems and their behavior in bullying situations are of major significance for the extent of bully/victim problems in the school or the class.

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The Victim

  • Physically slighter

  • Anxious and insecure; cautious, sensitive, and quiet

  • When attacked, react with crying—at least in the lower grades—and withdrawal

  • Low self esteem; often feel stupid, ashamed, and unattractive

  • Lonely and abandoned at school; often no friends.

    Long-term effects: Even into their 20s victimized individuals were likely to be depressed and had poorer self-esteem.

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The Bully

  • Bullies tend to be larger—particularly than their victims

  • Aggressive toward kids and adults

  • No evidence that “underneath it all, they were anxious and insecure”

  • Some are popular!

    • May have a following.

    • Older bullies are less likely to be popular

  • Component of a more general antisocial and rule-breaking behavior pattern

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More About the Bully

  • Family characteristics: lack of parental warmth and involvement; permissive with regard to aggression; parental use of power assertion disciplinary techniques

  • Social Cognitive Skill Deficits

    • Do bullies fails to understand the feelings of others and has little awareness of what other children actually think of them (Nelson on the Simpsons)?


    • Are they “cleverly manipulative?

    • The research literature suggests that the latter is more true than is the former. See the British investigators, Sutton & Smith versus Crick & Dodge in Social Development, 1999.

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Contextual Factors

  • Social contagion (imitation)

  • Weakening of control over aggressive inhibitions

  • Decreased sense of personal responsibility (diffusion of responsibility)

  • Perceptual degradation of the victim

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What Can I Do?

  • Keith Sullivan: Information for parents and teachers!

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Summary of: Aggression--Bullying

  • Aggression: Dodge’s model, stability

  • Bullying: Incidence, characteristics of bullies & victims, dynamics, & intervention

  • Next: Prosocial Behavior (#21)

  • Go in Peace