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Bullying evolves with age: Study

ANI | Updated: Mar 14, 2019 23:34 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar 14 (ANI): Children who are involved in bullying at the age of 11, may remain involved in it throughout their entire adolescence, a recent study suggests.  
Bullying among teens is a serious problem that needs to be urgently addressed. It is a harmful antisocial behaviour present in schools all over the world. Even though the discussion surrounding bullying can become a part of the day to day discussions, there are still gaps in knowledge related to its long-term effects.
Involvement in bullying, as either perpetrators or victims, have serious short-term and long-term consequences for all the members of the school community, family and society in general, causing future problems related to depression and difficulty with social relationships. Moreover, studies on bullying link it to drug use and even offending.
As part of the study, a team of researchers identified specific bullying behaviours in each age group and how adolescents continue to be involved in bullying or, on the other hand, find a way out at some point before adulthood.
Findings of the study, published in the Journal of Child Development, explained the evolution of bullying. Researchers suggest that it becomes less physical with age. In this sense, physical harm is a common bullying behaviour at young ages, while more subtle forms, such as insults and social exclusion, are maintained throughout adolescence.
This study is based on nearly 1000 adolescents, who responded to a questionnaire on bullying perpetration and victimization at age 11, 13, 15 and 17. What is new about this study is that the same group of participants was followed up from age 11 to age 17, that is, for six years, in order to see the evolution of bullying.
This study shows that there are different bullying roles. These roles are perpetrators, victims and bully/victims (who are both perpetrators and victims). Nearly 15% of the almost 1000 participants in the sample had been involved in one of these bullying roles during all their adolescent years, that is at age 11, 13, 15 and 17. Moreover, it was found that most participant who were not involved in bullying at 11 were never affected by this problem, or that they were involved only once during their adolescent years.
On the other hand, it is common that children involved in bullying at age 11 continue to be involved in bullying for several years afterwards. Victims generally continue to be victims or transition to uninvolved, whereas perpetrators generally continue to be perpetrators or transition to uninvolved. Bully/victims tend to transition to different bullying roles, but they rarely end up escaping from bullying and they usually remain involved for years. As adolescents grow older, a noticeable decrease in the percentage of bully/victims was also detected. (ANI)

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