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Abstract

Are all bullies unhappy and socially disconnected? The majority of theorists argue that bullies are a homogeneous group, such that their aggression is linked to less happiness and a greater probability of social exclusion. Recent findings, however, indicate some bullies obtain social benefits from the act of bullying, increasing their happiness. We sought to identify whether subgroups of bullies exist among 481 Chinese adolescents (mean age = 16.9, SD = 1.5) using self-report data on bullying, victimization, and various psychological and behavioral variables. Cluster analytic results identified four subgroups differentiated primarily by level of bullying, happiness, and perceived social connectedness. Subgroups included (1) happy, socially connected non-bullies (33.4%), (2) unhappy, socially disconnected non-bullies (26.9%), (3) unhappy, socially disconnected bullies (17.3%) and (4) happy, socially connected bullies (22.4%). These results suggest that, not only are some bullies happy and socially connected, but only a minority of bullies are unhappy and socially disconnected. Our findings offer unique insights into potential positive consequences of bullying that may differentiate subgroups of bullies. Such insights might inform existing and future anti-bullying interventions.

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... Competition for status and power is an essential component in the establishment of peer relations, and in this struggle, bullying behaviour can sometimes serve as an effective strategy to climb the status ladder (Saarento et al., 2015a). Status goals have been empirically identified as an important driving force behind bullying behaviour in the school setting (Faris & Felmlee, 2011;Sijtsema et al., 2009), with several social benefits to be potentially gained by the individual student in terms of popularity (Rodkin et al., 2006), social connectedness (Young et al., 2015) and self-esteem (Gendron et al., 2011;Olweus, 1993). Efforts by teachers to reduce social status inequalities in the classroom have indeed also been linked to a decreased number of bullied students (Serdiouk et al., 2015). ...
... Despite these less than desirable qualities, being a bully still seems to be positively associated with sociometric popularity among peers (Alvarez-Garcia et al., 2015;De Bruyn et al., 2010;Rodkin et al., 2006), while the corresponding relationships with social competence and self-esteem show mixed results (Alvarez-Garcia et al., 2015). In a more recent investigation based on Chinese high school students, Young et al. (2015) found that while a sizeable share of the bullies in their study reported being unhappy and socially disconnected, the majority still claimed to be happy and socially connected with their fellow students. ...
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... The type of bullyingrelated items included categorical and continuous variables. Therefore, we conducted a two-step clustering (Satish & Bharadhwaj, 2010;Young et al., 2015). The two-step cluster analysis is a well-suited exploratory technique to identify natural groupings (Bacher, Wenzig, & Vogler, 2004). ...
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Five hundred ethnically diverse undergraduates reported their happiness strategies – that is, activities undertaken to maintain or increase happiness. Factor analysis extracted eight general strategies: Affiliation, Partying, Mental Control, Goal Pursuit, Passive Leisure, Active Leisure, Religion, and Direct Attempts at happiness. According to multiple regression analyses, these strategies accounted for 52% of the variance in self-reported happiness and 16% over and above the variance accounted for by the Big Five personality traits. The strongest unique predictors of current happiness were Mental Control (inversely related), Direct Attempts, Affiliation, Religion, Partying, and Active Leisure. Gender differences suggest that men prefer to engage in Active Leisure and Mental Control, whereas women favor Affiliation, Goal Pursuit, Passive Leisure, and Religion. Relative to Asian and Chicano(a) students, White students preferred using high arousal strategies. Finally, mediation analyses revealed that many associations between individuals’ personality and happiness levels are to some extent mediated by the strategies they use to increase their happiness – particularly, by Affiliation, Mental Control, and Direct Attempts.
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The authors examined the relationship among measures of self-perception and the family environment for both general psychopathology and diagnostic clusters. The subject pool was a community sample of adolescents. The findings emphasize the relationship of the home environment to the presence of general psychopathology and specific diagnoses.
Article
Three dimensions of interpersonal relations among Australian school children were hypothesized as reflecting tendencies (a) to bully others, (b) to be victimized by others, and (c) to relate to others in a prosocial and cooperative manner. School children from two secondary schools (School A, n = 285; School B, n = 877) answered 20 questions assessing styles of interpersonal relations. Factor analyses of the item scores obtained from each of the two schools provided highly similar results, supporting the factorial independence of the three hypothesized dimensions. Students attending School B answered additional questions to assess self-esteem, level of happiness, and liking for school. Generally low levels of self-esteem were found among children who reported being more victimized than others, and high self-esteem among children practicing more prosocial behavior. The tendency to bully others was correlated negatively with happiness and liking school, but no relationship was found between this variable and self-esteem.
Article
Although violence among US youth is a current major concern, bullying is infrequently addressed and no national data on the prevalence of bullying are available. To measure the prevalence of bullying behaviors among US youth and to determine the association of bullying and being bullied with indicators of psychosocial adjustment, including problem behavior, school adjustment, social/emotional adjustment, and parenting. Analysis of data from a representative sample of 15 686 students in grades 6 through 10 in public and private schools throughout the United States who completed the World Health Organization's Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey during the spring of 1998. Self-report of involvement in bullying and being bullied by others. A total of 29.9% of the sample reported moderate or frequent involvement in bullying, as a bully (13.0%), one who was bullied (10.6%), or both (6.3%). Males were more likely than females to be both perpetrators and targets of bullying. The frequency of bullying was higher among 6th- through 8th-grade students than among 9th- and 10th-grade students. Perpetrating and experiencing bullying were associated with poorer psychosocial adjustment (P<.001); however, different patterns of association occurred among bullies, those bullied, and those who both bullied others and were bullied themselves. The prevalence of bullying among US youth is substantial. Given the concurrent behavioral and emotional difficulties associated with bullying, as well as the potential long-term negative outcomes for these youth, the issue of bullying merits serious attention, both for future research and preventive intervention.
To determine whether the relationship between bullying and psychosocial adjustment is consistent across countries by standard measures and methods. Cross-sectional self-report surveys were obtained from nationally representative samples of students in 25 countries. Involvement in bullying, as bully, victim, or both bully and victim, was assessed. Surveys were conducted at public and private schools throughout the participating countries. Participants included all consenting students in sampled classrooms, for a total of 113 200 students at average ages of 11.5, 13.5, and 15.5 years. Psychosocial adjustment dimensions assessed included health problems, emotional adjustment, school adjustment, relationships with classmates, alcohol use, and weapon carrying. Involvement in bullying varied dramatically across countries, ranging from 9% to 54% of youth. However, across all countries, involvement in bullying was associated with poorer psychosocial adjustment (P<.05). In all or nearly all countries, bullies, victims, and bully-victims reported greater health problems and poorer emotional and social adjustment. Victims and bully-victims consistently reported poorer relationships with classmates, whereas bullies and bully-victims reported greater alcohol use and weapon carrying. The association of bullying with poorer psychosocial adjustment is remarkably similar across countries. Bullying is a critical issue for the health of youth internationally.
Article
This chapter focuses on the relationship between popularity and aggression. Subgroups of prosocial-popular, aggressive-popular, and aggressive-unpopular boys are examined in terms of their behavioral and social-ecological correlates.
Article
To determine among male adolescents whether bully-victims would report the poorest psychosocial health, the worst attitudes toward school, more problem behavior (delinquency, weapons possession, and substance use), and more physical injury compared with bullies, victims, and neutral students. We also assessed ethnic differences in bullying category membership. Employing multisample latent variable models, we contrasted 1,312 males in grades 7-12 classified as bullies (n = 299), victims (n = 180), bully-victims (n = 195), and neutral (n = 638) on school attitudes, psychosocial health, problem behaviors, and physical injury. Hypotheses were generally confirmed, especially contrasts between bully-victims and neutrals. However, bullies did not have better school attitudes than bully-victims, and victims only marginally reported better psychological health than bully-victims. The boys of mixed ethnicity were more likely to be victims. Greater awareness of the problems associated with boys who both bully and are victimized is necessary for improved intervention.
PASW statistics 18 guide to data analysis
  • M J Norusis
Norusis, M. J. (2010). PASW statistics 18 guide to data analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Press.
Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do
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Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Cluster analysis: Quantitative applications in the social sciences
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Aldenderfer, M. S., & Blashfield, R. K. (1984). Cluster analysis: Quantitative applications in the social sciences. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publication.
Who is the bully? Home & School
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Lowenstein, L. F. (1977). Who is the bully? Home & School, 11, 3-4.
Bullying behaviors among US youth
  • T R Nansel
  • M Overpeck
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  • W J Ruan
  • B Simons-Morton
  • P Scheidt
Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 2094-2100.