Teenagers Gain Status Among Peers Through A Combination Of Bullying And Aggression

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News: Researchers from the University of California – Davis found that teens bully, harass, or otherwise victimize their peers out of aggression to climb their school’s social hierarchy.

Researchers used a longitudinal social network study of more than 3,000 eighth, ninth and 10th graders in North Carolina over the course of a single school year. The team observed that the teens who were friends in the fall were more than three times as likely to bully or victimize each other in the spring of that same school year. On the other hand, those whose friendships continued over the school year were over four times as likely to bully those friends.

Robert Faris, author of the study published in the American Journal of Sociology said that classmates and friends with close ties to one another likely compete for positions within the same classrooms, sports and dating subgroups, which increases the risk of conflict and aggression. This study is the first known to show that teens’ rivals are often their own friends.

The findings highlight that peers are not bullying each other in reaction to psychological problems or unhealthy home environments, but to climb the social ladder. This also explains why most anti-bullying programs fail to work and suggest possible strategies for the future.

To Know More You May Refer To

Faris, R., Felmlee, D., & McMillan, C. (2020). With friends like these: Aggression from amity and equivalence. American Journal of Sociology, 126(3), 673-713. https://doi.org/10.1086/712972

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