Common notion has it that bullies and their victims come from hugely different social groups. Though this may be true in some ways, a bully and his victim actually has more characteristics in common according to a study done by the Louisiana State University and the University of California Riverside.
Researchers from these two universities reviewed 153 cases with participants spanning from ages 3 to 18 years old and with sample sizes ranging from 44 to 26,430. They used data such as peer, teacher, and self-reports in order to measure the aggressiveness and social competence of the participants. They also studied and considered other factors such as academic performance, school, home, and family environment. All of the cases were from Europe and USA.
Most people have the view that popular kids often bully the geeks due to their weird view of things that they cannot quite understand and appreciate. However, contrary to this notion, the study showed that the victims of bullying do not necessarily have higher IQs than the bullies. In fact, the School Psychology Quarterly journal released that both victims and their bullies suffer from academic problems and have poor problem-solving capabilities.
This study is the first research which concentrated on the individual and environmental factors which can predict the probability of being a bully or a victim of it. According to the lead author of the Louisiana State University Clayton R. Cook, these two groups share some characteristics but also possess some traits unique to them. For example, researchers found that a normal bully nurses some negative attitudes and often suffers from family conflict. Surprisingly, victims of bullying have similar characteristics as well because they also tend to be aggressive, pessimists, lacking in social skills, and comes from a negative family environment. Due to their hostile view and attitude towards the world, they are often isolated and rejected by their peers which results to bullying.
This new data serves to contradict the normal view that geeks or smart people are the only ones most prone to being bullied. However, people still cannot deny the fact that there are still nerds who get persecuted because of their intelligence. Moreover, the inverse relationship between intelligence and popularity studied at a closer scale may seem confusing for some. If nerds are so smart, they are ought to be envied and admired by people, right? Why then are they being laughed at instead of being loved? Aren’t they the ones who possess more characteristics which can make them popular instead of the bullies?
The answer to this is quite simple. Since geeks are smart, they prioritize more important things than popularity. Of course there are also nerds who want a taste of popularity. However, when it all comes down to a choice between being academically exceptional and being a school status, their instincts always call for the former. And the rest is up to the workings of student stratification in schools. Since typical bullies have nothing to brag about, they compensate their losses by pushing other people around to make them look special.
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