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Bullying in schools

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Date Issued:
2012
Summary:
Peer aggression and bullying are significant problems for children in American schools. While a large body of research has been conducted in this area, none to date has examined the combined roles of temperament (behavioral activation system, or BAS, and behavioral inhibition system, or BIS), and empathy in predicting participation in bullying interactions. Previous research has found that low empathy facilitates aggressive behavior, while high empathy inhibits it, and has linked poor emotion regulation to conduct disorders. Thus, if these factors can predict behaviors towards peers, they may also predict (independently and in combination) involvement in bullying, specifically the roles assumed in those interactions - that is: bully, victim, bully-victim (a child who is both bully and victim), or defender/protector. The present study tested 226 middle school students on a measure of empathy (Interpersonal Reactivity Index), and a measure of temperament (BIS/BAS Scales). The students also completed a Peer Nomination Inventory to identify children who were aggressive toward others, victimized by peers, and/or protected peers from bullies. Although not all predictions were supported, results showed that certain sub-components of empathy, such as empathic concern (affective empathy) and personal distress (a measure of emotion regulation) predicted the behavior of "pure bullies" (bullies who are not themselves victimized), but not of other aggressive children such as bully-victims. High BAS drive and low BIS were significant predictors of aggressive behavior, and BAS reward responsiveness predicted protective behavior. Victimized children had higher fantasy (ability to identify with fictional characters) and lower perspective-taking (cognitive empathy) skills, and tended not to have overlapping characteristics and behaviors with protective children.
Title: Bullying in schools: the role of empathy, temperament, and emotion regulation.
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Name(s): Gagnon, Chantal M.
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Department of Psychology
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Issued: 2012
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Physical Form: electronic
Extent: xii, 122 p. : ill.
Language(s): English
Summary: Peer aggression and bullying are significant problems for children in American schools. While a large body of research has been conducted in this area, none to date has examined the combined roles of temperament (behavioral activation system, or BAS, and behavioral inhibition system, or BIS), and empathy in predicting participation in bullying interactions. Previous research has found that low empathy facilitates aggressive behavior, while high empathy inhibits it, and has linked poor emotion regulation to conduct disorders. Thus, if these factors can predict behaviors towards peers, they may also predict (independently and in combination) involvement in bullying, specifically the roles assumed in those interactions - that is: bully, victim, bully-victim (a child who is both bully and victim), or defender/protector. The present study tested 226 middle school students on a measure of empathy (Interpersonal Reactivity Index), and a measure of temperament (BIS/BAS Scales). The students also completed a Peer Nomination Inventory to identify children who were aggressive toward others, victimized by peers, and/or protected peers from bullies. Although not all predictions were supported, results showed that certain sub-components of empathy, such as empathic concern (affective empathy) and personal distress (a measure of emotion regulation) predicted the behavior of "pure bullies" (bullies who are not themselves victimized), but not of other aggressive children such as bully-victims. High BAS drive and low BIS were significant predictors of aggressive behavior, and BAS reward responsiveness predicted protective behavior. Victimized children had higher fantasy (ability to identify with fictional characters) and lower perspective-taking (cognitive empathy) skills, and tended not to have overlapping characteristics and behaviors with protective children.
Summary: These characteristics did not interact significantly with each other or with age, gender, ethnicity, or SES of students. It was concluded that pure bullies lack affective empathy, and victims lack cognitive empathy. That is, empathy is multidimensional and empathy deficits vary in type, but all lead to some form of socioemotional impairment. Furthermore, aggressive victims are a unique sub-group of children with unique characteristics.
Identifier: 794503321 (oclc), 3342106 (digitool), FADT3342106 (IID), fau:3860 (fedora)
Note(s): by Chantal M. Gagnon.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2012.
Includes bibliography.
Electronic reproduction. Boca Raton, Fla., 2012. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Subject(s): Bullying in schools -- Prevention
Bullying -- Prevention
School violence -- Prevention
Aggressiveness in children
Violence -- Psychological aspects
Violence -- Social aspects
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/FAU/3342106
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Owner Institution: FAU