Bullying and Aggression: an Assignment in Social Psychology

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Bullying and Aggression: an assignment in Social Psychology
Tanya Perpetua D’Souza
Most definitions of bullying often differ semantically; many of them have one concept in common: Bullying is a subtype of aggression (Dodge, 1991; Olweus, 1993; Smith & Thompson, 1991). The following definitions are common in the literature: "A person is being bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students" (Olweus, 1993, p. 9). "A student is being bullied or picked on when another student says nasty and unpleasant things to him or her. It is also bullying when a student is hit, kicked, threatened, locked inside a room, sent nasty notes, and when no one ever talks to him" (Smith & Sharp, 1994, p. 1). We as a culture seem to be on a road to prohibit aggression. Aggression is one form of negative behaviour that is highly frowned upon. The fact is, however, that aggression is a normal, healthy feeling. Assertiveness actually has a similar meaning and is considered by many to be a positive trait. It is very similar to aggression. Bullying has been defined as a distinct type of aggression characterized by a repeated and systematic abuse of power (Olweus, 1999; P. K. Smith & Sharp, 1994). In addition to acts of physical aggression, bullying also includes verbal aggression (e.g., name calling and threats), relational aggression (e.g., social isolation and rumour spreading), and cyber-aggression (e.g., text messaging and e-mailing hurtful messages or images (Williams & Guerra, 2007). Bullying generally involves a bully and a victim. Early research tended to dichotomize children into one of these two mutually exclusive groups. However, there also appears to be a third group who both bully and are bullied by others (Haynie et al., 2001; Veenstra et al., 2005). Research indicates that between 10% and 30% of children and youth are involved in bullying. At this junction it is important to note that...
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