"I Am Not Scared" Project
Bullying als Gruppenphänomen: Eine Adaption des „Participant Role“-Ansatzes
Mechthild Schäfer, Stefan Korn
Zeitschrift für Entwicklungspsychologie und Pädagogische Psychologie, 36 (1), S. 19-29, 2004
Bullying, Participant roles
Parents, Policy Makers, Teachers, Researchers, School Directors.
1 - 20 pages
Press release of the Informationsdienst Wissenschaft of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich:
In tests, nine out of ten students can be assigned a distinct role in the bullying process. Bullying is thus a group phenomenon. This is also true in Germany, as Dr. Mechthild Schäfer and Stefan Korn from the Department of Educational Psychology and Empirical Pedagogy of the LMU have found out now.
The researchers examined 104 children from four sixth grade classes at two secondary modern schools. "Our study shows for the first time that German students are taking well-defined roles in bullying," said Schaefer. "Because almost the whole class is involved, it is not sufficient to characterize only victims and perpetrators, describing their relationship and to understand the possible consequences of this aggression against the weak."
The individual student can be, if not always exclusively, assign different roles in bullying: outsiders, victims, defenders of the victim, offender and the offender's assistant or reinforcer. Friendships are usually only between students with no aggressive tendencies, and between those who are involved in bullying. The two resulting friendship networks run across the group and create two populations. It became clear in all studies conducted so far that one's social acceptance influenced behavior: Fearing to be the next victim a student with low social status, don’t have the courage to stand on the side of a victimized child.
Outsiders make up the largest part of the group; with some occasionally occur as a defender. They are rarely victims, which contradicts the hypothesis of their group were recruited the victims of the "next generation".
One thing bullies and their victims have in common: they are significantly less popular than their peers. Appertain to perpetrators is that they are powerful. "Bullying in a class without external support by teachers or parents is difficult to solve because the offender does not voluntarily give up this power," says Korn. "Its strong position gives them even more power to form or determine the social norms of the class."
Therefore, all consistently pursued strategies to aggressive behavior are useful to weaken the social status of the offender. Thus the willingness of assistants and amplifiers will be reduced to associate with them. "Defenders are encouraged in their behavior, and outsiders learn that commitment in critical situations as a quality of interaction is formulated and maintained, "said Schaefer.
"If it is possible to formulate a positive (re)definition of social norms in the class, the victims are not popular in the group. But her life at school is safer and easier."
The approach of participant roles in bullying by Christina Salmivalli is one of the most important analyses in this field of research. The study conducted by Mechthild Schäfer shows that these roles is also exist for German students. Besides the classic roles of victims and perpetrators of bullying other students in situations act as well. These students, such as the group of outsiders, have to make aware of bullying to counter such acts of aggression.
Informationsdienst Wissenschaft, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
I Am Not Scared Project
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