Victims, bullies, and their defenders: A longitudinal study of the coevolution of positive and negative networks

Gijs Huitsing*, Tom A.B. Snijders, Marijtje A. J. Van Duijn, René Veenstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The complex interplay between bullying/victimization and defending was examined using a longitudinal social network approach (stochastic actor-based models). The (co) evolution of these relations within three elementary schools (Grades 2-5 at Time 1, ages 8-11, N = 354 children) was investigated across three time points within a year. Most bullies and defenders were in the same grade as the victims, although a substantial number of bullies and defenders were in other grades (most often one grade higher). Defenders were usually of the same gender as the victims, whereas most bullies were boys, with boys bullying both boys and girls. In line with goal-framing theory, multiplex network analyses provided evidence for the social support hypothesis (victims with the same bullies defended each other over time) as well as the retaliation hypothesis (defenders run the risk of becoming victimized by the bullies of the victims they defend). In addition, the analysis revealed that bullies with the same victims defended each other over time and that defenders of bullies initiated harassment of those bullies' victims. This study can be seen as a starting point in unraveling the relationship dynamics among bullying, victimization, and defending networks in schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-659
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Volume26
Issue number3
Early online date25-Apr-2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2014

Keywords

  • PASSIVE BYSTANDING BEHAVIOR
  • SOCIAL-STATUS
  • PEER-VICTIMIZATION
  • BULLYING BEHAVIOR
  • PARTICIPANT ROLES
  • RISK-FACTORS
  • GROUP NORMS
  • AGGRESSION
  • SCHOOL
  • ADOLESCENTS

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