Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hierarchies Affect Bullying

Sociologists Diane Felmiee and Robert Faris have studied bullying in high school and have concluded that hierarchies affect how students behave.

Their research shows that many students are involved in "social combat" -- a constant verbal, physical and cyber fight to the top of the school social hierarchy. They found that bullies, whom they call aggressors, and victims are not defined roles, but in many cases, they can be the same person. The higher students rise on the social ladder, the more they bully other students, and the more other students bully them.

"Family background of kids does not really seem to matter in their aggressive behavior. Instead, what really matters is where they are located in the school hierarchy," Faris said.

“Aggression is intrinsic to status and escalates with increases in peer status until the pinnacle of the social hierarchy is attained,” it says. “Over time, individuals at the very bottom and those at the very top of a hierarchy become the least aggressive youth.”