Happy and unhappy adolescent bullies: Evidence for theoretically meaningful subgroups

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Are all bullies unhappy and socially disconnected? The majority of theorists argue that bullies are a homogeneous group, such that their aggression is linked to less happiness and a greater probability of social exclusion. Recent findings, however, indicate some bullies obtain social benefits from the act of bullying, increasing their happiness. We sought to identify whether subgroups of bullies exist among 481 Chinese adolescents (mean age. = 16.9, SD= 1.5) using self-report data on bullying, victimization, and various psychological and behavioral variables. Cluster analytic results identified four subgroups differentiated primarily by level of bullying, happiness, and perceived social connectedness. Subgroups included (1) happy, socially connected non-bullies (33.4%), (2) unhappy, socially disconnected non-bullies (26.9%), (3) unhappy, socially disconnected bullies (17.3%) and (4) happy, socially connected bullies (22.4%). These results suggest that, not only are some bullies happy and socially connected, but only a minority of bullies are unhappy and socially disconnected. Our findings offer unique insights into potential positive consequences of bullying that may differentiate subgroups of bullies. Such insights might inform existing and future anti-bullying interventions.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Young, KC; Kashdan, TB; McKnight, PE; Blalock, DV; Yuen, M; Richberg, JB

Published Date

  • March 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 75 /

Start / End Page

  • 224 - 228

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0191-8869

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.paid.2014.11.024

Citation Source

  • Scopus