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Are some children more likely to bully than others?

A Scottish study carried out in 1989 found that bullies came from all social classes. It also found that bullies came from all types of family backgrounds. According to the study children were more likely to bully others if they had three or more siblings, or if they lived with someone other than their parents. Children whose parents worked in professional and managerial jobs seemed less likely to bully than those with parents working in skilled manual jobs.
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Comment

The most important finding here was that children who said they had bullied others came from all social backgrounds. The small differences reported between children whose parents had professional jobs and those who had skilled manual jobs may be explained by one group being more willing to admit to bullying than the other.
(Andrew Mellor)
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Article details

A Mellor (1997) 'Bullying in Scottish Secondary Schools', SCRE Spotlight Number 23. Available from the Anti-Bullying Network and to download online here.
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Author details

Andrew MellorAt the time of the study, Andrew Mellor was a practising teacher who had received funding from the Scottish Education Department to carry out this project. He has been actively involved in anti-bullying work in Scotland for almost 15 years, speaking at conferences, writing for academic and non-academic audiences and running in-service courses for teachers. He is now manager of the Anti-Bullying Network, which is funded by the Scottish Executive and based at The University of Edinburgh.
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