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February 28, 2010

More On Bullying

Found this awesome article in Psychology Today from 1995, but updated last year, much of which validates my own post on bullying.

The article talks about research on bullying done in Sweden and elsewhere, and how bullies are a distinct character type, who are parented in a particular way. There are two types of bullies, and studies show that, among boys at least, bullies test among the lowest levels of testosterone in their peer groups. (This is because bullying is ineffective at making the bully dominant in their overall peer group; they are only dominant among the people they bully. Ineffective people have low testosterone.)

The article also talks about the differences in bullying styles between boys and girls. Boys tend to engage in violent bullying, whereas girls tend to engage in "relational" bullying, in which desired relationships are manipulated or withheld. I didn't include all the behaviors this article calls "relational bullying" in my own list of bullying behaviors. In my opinion, there's no hard line between behaviors maintaining a social hierarchy, and relational bullying behaviors. Hierarchy-building requires that lower-status members get aversive feedback to prevent incursions. It's hard to say when aversive feedback becomes abusive for its own sake.

But since I'm not a big fan of either social hierarchies or of relational bullying, I'm happy to let the one slide into the other, and both slide into the sea.

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Comments

In Japan, bullying is much different from the bullying in the US. It's a major problem. I'm not saying it's not a problem in the US, but the type of bullying in Japan is just different.

Even the royal princess is refusing to go to school because of bullying!

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/princess-aiko-unable-to-go-to-school-after-boys-treated-her-harshly

I read about that recently. What do you mean the type of bullying is different? I hope Kazu isn't catching any of that.

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