Varieties of Childhood Bullying: Values, Emotion Processes, and Social Competence

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Abstract

Understanding the nature of bullies and bullying is of considerable theoretical and practical importance. We offer a commentary on a recent debate on this topic between Sutton, Smith, and Swettenham (1999a, 1999b) and Crick and Dodge (1999). In this commentary, we first summarize the main points of the debate, including alternative views of bullies as social inadequates versus Machiavellian schemers. Then we clarify some unresolved issues concerning the nature and limits of social competence and the roles of values in both social competence and in bullying. Finally, it is argued that variations in children’s emotion processes, such as emotionality and emotion regulation, also may underlie some of the individual differences that have been found in empathy, social information processing, and in reactive (‘hot-headed’) and proactive (‘cold-blooded’) aggressive and bullying patterns.

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