Does the gender of the bully/victim dyad and the type of bullying influence children’s responses to a bullying incident?
Stiff, Chris E.
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Fox, C. L., Jones, S., Stiff, C. E. & Sayers, J. (2014) Does the gender of the bully/victim dyad and the type of bullying influence children’s responses to a bullying incident? Aggressive Behavior, 40 (4), pp. 359-368.
Children's responses to bullying are context related; they will vary depending on the specific bullying episode. The aim of the present study was to explore whether children's responses to bullying vary depending on the gender of the bully and victim and the type of bullying portrayed. In total, 437 children aged 9–11 years from four primary schools in the UK took part in the study. Each child read a story about one child bullying another. There were 12 different versions of the story, varying the type of bullying (verbal, physical, or relational/indirect) and the gender of the bully and victim (i.e., male bully—female victim, female bully—male victim, male bully—male victim, female bully—female victim). Each child was randomly allocated to one of the 12 stories. After reading the story the children then responded to a series of questions to assess their perceptions of the victim and bully and situation. Overall females liked the bully more than males; females also reported liking the female victim more than the male victim and females were more likely than males to intervene with a female victim. The bullying was viewed as more serious, more sympathy was shown to the victim, and there was a greater likelihood of intervention when the incident involved a female bully. There was less liking for the bully if the situation involved a female victim of physical bullying. The findings are explained in terms of social identity theory and social norms about typical male and female behavior.