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Birds of a feather bully together: Group processes and children's responses to bullying

Authors


Correspondence should be addressed to Ms Sian E. Jones, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Tower Building, Park Place, Cardiff, UK (e-mail: jonesse21@cardiff.ac.uk).

Abstract

Recent research has shown that a group-level analysis can inform our understanding of school bullying. The present research drew on social identity theory and intergroup emotion theory. Nine- to eleven-year olds were randomly assigned to the same group as story characters who were described as engaging in bullying, as being bullied, or as neither engaging in bullying nor being bullied. Participants read a story in which a bully, supported by his or her group, was described as acting unkindly towards a child in a different group. Gender of protagonists and the bully's group norm (to be kind or unkind to other children) were varied. Identification affected responses to the bullying incident, such that those who identified more highly with each group favoured this group. Moreover, children's group membership predicted the group-based emotions they reported, together with the associated action tendencies. Implications for understanding the processes underlying bullying behaviour are discussed.

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