UVA Research Suggests Bullying Victims Not Disliked by Peers
New research from the University of Virginia suggests school bullying victims are not the students who are disliked by their peers.
Researchers say what makes this study unique is it targets a specific group - finding that it is really bullies who dislike victims, not the general peer group.
The study looked at inventories from 10th-graders in 13 public schools in Finland.
Students were asked about several factors including how often they bullied others, how often they had been bullied, and they were even asked to name schoolmates they disliked.
Researchers found bullies - not the rest of the peers - had elevated levels of dislike. They say it potentially offers hope for the victims.
"One of the big impacts that we hope to see is that with things going on such as Sandy Hook or other illustrations of the potential negative impact that bullying can have over time is to help victims to know that they're not alone, that they have the ability to reach out to peers, and that most of their classmates don't dislike them," said Chris Hafen, UVA research assistant.
Researchers for this study say previous findings had shown school bullying victims had higher levels of rejection - or overall dislike by peers.
The researchers are now working to develop interventions that pair victims with peers who may have better social skills in order to curb the impact bullying may have.