Social climbing can involve bullying, harassment

Scientists have confirmed an axiom of teenage life: Kids intent on climbing the social ladder at school are more likely to pick on their fellow students, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.

The finding, reported in Tuesday’s edition of the American Sociological Review, lends an air of authenticity to TV shows like “Gossip Girl” and the 2004 movie “Mean Girls.” More importantly, it may suggest that efforts to combat bullying in schools should focus more closely on social hierarchies.

“By and large, status increases aggression,” said sociologist Robert Faris of UC Davis, who led the study.

Faris and a colleague studied the relationships among 3,722 middle and high school students over the course of an academic year and found that the teenagers’ propensity toward aggression rose along with their social status. Aggressive behavior peaked when students hit the 98th percentile for popularity, suggesting that they were working hard to claw their way to the very top.
 
However, those who were in the top 2 percent of a school’s social hierarchy generally didn’t harass their fellow students. At that point, they may have had little left to gain by being mean, and picking on others only made them seem insecure, Faris said.

The researchers quantified this by administering surveys to eighth-, ninth- and 10th-graders in 19 schools in North Carolina in fall 2004 and again in spring 2005. Students were asked to name up to five best friends. They were also asked to name up to five students they had picked on in the previous three months, and up to five students who had picked on them.

In cases where aggression occurred, students classified the events as physical attacks, direct verbal harassment or indirect offenses like spreading rumors or ostracizing classmates.

The surveys also asked about the students’ grades, participation on sports teams, dating history, race and family income.

The results allowed Faris to create “social maps” of each school, charting all the positive and negative relationships among students.

At the beginning of the school year, 40 percent of students said they had harassed another classmate. In the second survey in the spring, 33 percent said they had done so. Higher social status — defined as occupying the hub of a school’s social network rather than the periphery — in the fall predicted higher rates of aggression in the spring.

On average, each student was aggressive toward 0.63 fellow students at the end of the school year. A few particularly aggressive students — socially-central athletes — harassed as many as nine kids apiece.

Though the study reinforces popular stereotypes about social cliques in schools, it contradicts academic notions about aggression, Faris said.

“For a long time, there was emphasis on seeing aggression as a product of the home environment,” he said. “Here we’re getting a different picture.”

The findings suggest that anti-bullying programs need to focus on the role of the nonviolent majority of students, said UCLA psychologist Jaana Juvonen, who studies bullying in schools.

“It’s really critical for bystanders to speak up,” said Juvonen, who wasn’t involved in the study. “If there’s an aggressive kid everyone bows down to, it sends a signal to the bully that what they’re doing is working.”

Rosalind Wiseman, a 17-year teaching veteran, said the study reflected the experience of many educators. It was just such behavior that prompted her to write “Queen Bees and Wannabes,” the book that inspired the film “Mean Girls,” in which a nice and slightly nerdy girl played by Lindsay Lohan becomes increasingly catty as her popularity soars.

Advertisements

One response to “Social climbing can involve bullying, harassment

  1. Hi Friend,
    The core training is comprised of 15 modules, which are in video format but you also receive written transcripts of each video.transcripts in PDF of the content make up the material for this online training courseInside this product there are videos for every module, of which there are fifteen, and you can also read precisely what is said in every video. It is fair to state that the first five modules are more suited to a new marketer in looking at research and explaining some of the fundamentalsAn introduction to affiliate marketing, which include finding markets and products, in the first five videos is perhaps more geared to novice marketersResearching niches and products and what being an affiliate marketer is will be more geared to novice marketers and that is covered in videos one to five. Nevertheless, there is always something you can pick up from watching these and you might be interested to do the exercise in module 3That is not to say anyone should skip them and video three does have a process everyone should do.must be watched at least once and the third has an interesting assignment to complete. It presents a way of working out what you should do to reach financial freedom since the end result will not be the sameIf you are interested to know what financially free means for you, then this will present how to work that outFor the financial lifestyle you desire, they have a process for finding out how you can achieve that. By module six, you are going to look at more advanced areas such as really drilling down into a potentialThe training moves on by video six as you will see how to drill down in your niche research.will be discussed in greater detail by the time you get to the sixth module.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s