RedTracker| A new study on bullying suggests that the problem is most prevalent not among wounded, deprived kids living in unhappy homes, but among socially mobile kids — the popular ones. Researchers at the University of California-Davis studied students in 19 middle and high schools for 4.5 years with seven in-person interviews and friendship maps.
Authors Robert Faris and Diane Felmlee found that only one-third of the students engaged in bullying of any kind, but they were the popular kids. They bullied because they had the power to be aggressive. Only when kids reached the top 2% of the school’s social hierarchy did their bullying stop.
“Seemingly normal well-adjusted kids can be aggressive,” says Faris. We found that status increases aggression.” The more kids cared about being popular, the more aggressive they became. The author continued “It’s one of the few times I can recall in social sciences where race and family background seem to make very little difference.” via TIME