Researchers say girls suffer most from bullying

A team of researchers led by Warwick Psychology professer, Dieter Wolke, have found that girls are twice as likely as their male counterparts to suffer from bullying.

Their research paper entitled “Who escapes or remains a victim of bullying in primary school?”, was the result of the study, which examined a research team examined 663 children aged 6-9 on their experiences of bullying.

Wolke and his team found out that girls are twice as likely to remain victims of bullying then boys, girls being especially targeted if obese.

Professor Wolke says, “The reason behind this is due to network characteristics. Girls build tighter networks and have more intimate relationships, and therefore, once shunned from the group, their support base is lost and it is harder for them to build up the network again.”

The study also shows how bullying tactics develop once the child gets older. They found out that children move from direct victimization, to relational victimization, the spreading of malicious gossip or withdrawal of friendships leading to social exclusion.

Once again, girls are highlighted as being victims of relational bullying, as they have a slightly better social understanding than boys, and therefore are deeply affected by these tactics.

Another interesting observation is how the child’s relationship with his family translates into his victimization in school.

Wolke says, “If victimized by siblings, children are 2-4 times more likely to be victimized in school than others.”

Other observations showed that work problems and parents suffering from psychological problems link directly to their children being bullied in school.

It’s hard enough to be bullied, but what Professor Wolke has also touched upon is the difficulty in recent years to escape victimization, with bullies using the internet to scope out their victims.

Cyber-bullying is the “new thing” for bullies to manipulate, with facebook, myspace and xanga being major hotspots. These sites are used to post incriminating pictures of people who have no control over what is being put on the web and therefore are deemed to continuously suffer under the hands of the bully.

Professor Wolke has been studying the phenomenon of bullying for twelve years, and says that although bullying will never cease to exist, there are ways for children to learn how to prevent further bullying and defend themselves against attacks.

His suggestions included peer networks and mentors, in order for children to gain support against their bullies.

He also stressed the importance of the newly created European Project named E-Circus, a virtual learning environment that gives children the opportunity to devise strategies to overcome the bully.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.