Time Magazine recently published Schoolyard Bullying: Which Kids Are Most Vulnerable? You often read about children who suffer more than one episode of bullying and I have wondered if there is any characteristics that make some children more prone to becoming the victims of bullying.
The article from Time was based on research conducted in the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development, from the Université Laval in Québec, Canada.
Some of the factors which they are stating makes a child more likely to be bullied surprised me.
Researchers found several key factors that predicted a child’s risk of future victimization — namely, physically aggressive behavior in the child, harsh parenting methods (like “overly punitive” responses to kids’ bad behavior) and low socio-economic status. The best predictor, the study concluded, was early childhood physical aggression. “If a child is aggressive at 2 years of age, he’s more likely to be in the higher-increasing trajectory,” Boivin said. “If, in addition, the mother is hostile and reactive, the prediction risk increases.” Adding the third element, low socio-economic status, increases that likelihood even further.
I would have thought the a child with aggression would be more likely to be the perpetrator not the victim. The authors do note that further study is required to answer questions of cause and effect. I can see how this type of research will be tremendously helpful in preventing bullying. Understanding who is likely to be more at risk can help educators and parents to try an minimise the occurrence of bullying and the long term damage it has on these children.