Boys who bully girls

A new study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Development examined the social status of bullies and their victims. Several interesting results come out of their data. First, bullies were generally disliked, indicated by children’s ratings of who they “Liked Most” and “Liked Least” to play with. However, some bullies were perceived as being popular by their peers and teachers. Boys who bullied other boys fit the classic pattern of the popular bully and unpopular victims. Boys who who bullied girls fit the opposite pattern; they were unpopular, and their victims were perceived to be more popular; in these cases, bullies had physical power over their victims but no psychological advantage. Although there is some precedent in other research, the authors of this study were disturbed by the prevalence of boy-girl bullying.

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