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HealthWatch: Kids and Bullying

HealthcareDAVIS, Cal. — A new University of California, Davis, study finds that popular adolescents – but not the most popular ones – are the most likely to bully their friends.

Robert Faris, an assistant professor of sociology at UC Davis, says “Our findings underscore the argument that – for the most part – attaining and maintaining a high social status likely involves some level of antagonistic behavior.”

The study is published in the February issue of the American Sociological Review.

“The fact that they both have reduced levels of aggression is true, but it can be attributed to quite different things,” Faris said. “The ones at the bottom don’t have the social power or as much capacity to be aggressive whereas the ones at the top have all that power, but don’t need to use it.”

The aggressive behavior is characterized as causing physical harm, like hitting, shoving or kicking.  It can also be in the form of verbal aggression, like name-calling or threats, as well as spreading rumors and ostracizing others.

You can read more about the UC Davis research here.