Youngsters and teens who lack social problem-solving skills are more likely to become bullies, victims or both, while those who also do poorly at school are even more likely to become bullies, according to a new study.
The US researchers who reviewed 153 studies from the last 30 years also found that boys bully more than girls.
"A typical bully has trouble resolving problems with others and also has trouble academically. He or she usually has negative attitudes and beliefs about others, feels negatively toward himself [or] herself, comes from a family environment characterised by conflict and poor parenting, perceives school as negative and is negatively influenced by peers," lead author Clayton R. Cook, of Louisiana State University, said in an American Psychological Association news release.
"A typical victim is likely to be aggressive, lack social skills, think negative thoughts, experience difficulties in solving social problems, come from a negative family, school and community environments and be noticeably rejected and isolated by peers," Cook added.
Identifying a bully
A typical bully-victim (a child or adolescent who bullies and is bullied) has negative self-attitudes and beliefs, trouble with social interaction, poor social problem-solving skills, does poorly in school, is rejected and isolated by peers, and is negatively influenced by peers with whom he or she interacts, the review authors said.
The findings appears in the journal School Psychology Quarterly.
"We hope this knowledge will help us better understand the conditions under which bullying occurs and the consequences it may have for individuals and the other people in the same settings. Ultimately, we want to develop better prevention and intervention strategies to stop the cycle before it begins," Cook said.
Among other things, Cook recommended simultaneous anti-bullying intervention with parents, peers and schools. "Behavioural parent training could be used in the home, while building good peer relationships and problem-solving skills could be offered in the schools, along with academic help for those having trouble in this area," he concluded. - (July 2010)
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