Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Youths' social goals help determine response to bullying

Date:
August 30, 2011
Source:
Society for Research in Child Development
Summary:
This study finds that the types of goals children set in their relationships help determine how they respond to being bullied -- and whether they choose responses that are effective. For the study, researchers surveyed 370 children across grades two and three and their teachers. Findings suggest that by working to develop social competence, children orient themselves toward efforts to solve problems with their peers, handle their emotions, and think positively when relationships go awry.

Second and third graders who are bullied react in a variety of ways -- from discussing the problem or striking back to seeking emotional support. A new study in the journal Child Development has found that the types of goals children set in their relationships help determine how they respond to being bullied -- and whether they choose responses that are effective.

Related Articles


The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

"Bullying has become a significant focus of media attention and public health concern," according to Karen D. Rudolph, professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who led the study. "Although a primary focus of interventions is to eradicate bullying in the schools, it's also important to help children cope with peer aggression in ways that resolve rather than exacerbate the situation.

"This research highlights the importance of educational efforts to shift children's priorities away from focusing on being 'popular' or 'cool' and toward developing skills and relationships," notes Rudolph. "Achieving this goal can promote constructive coping strategies, ultimately reducing bullying and lessening its long-term impact on children's social and mental health."

The researchers surveyed more than 370 children across the two grades as well as their teachers. Children and teachers filled out surveys on how children typically respond to classmates' aggression. Children also reported on how often they were bullied (from mild attacks such as verbal insults and teasing to more severe bullying, including exclusion and physical assault).

In addition, the children reported on their social goals; those fell into three categories -- 1) efforts to acquire social skills and develop high-quality relationships, like learning how to be a good friend; 2) efforts to gain positive social judgments and prestige, such as having "cool" friends; and 3) efforts to minimize negative social judgments, such as avoiding being viewed as a "loser."

Children who worked to acquire social skills and develop solid relationships, the study found, were more likely to engage in thoughtful and constructive responses to bullying that were aimed at addressing or learning from the situation and managing their emotions. These children were less likely to become emotionally upset than their peers.

Children who sought to be cool tended to disengage from the situation by denying that it had happened or doing nothing, rather than trying to solve the problem at hand. These children were more likely to retaliate against the bullies.

And children whose goals were to avoid being seen as uncool or "losers" were more likely to ignore bullies and less likely to retaliate, perhaps in an effort to pacify the bullies and deflect attention from themselves. These children and those who sought to be cool were less effective in their responses to bullies than the children who managed their emotions and tried to learn from the situation.

"Our findings suggest that by working to develop social competence and relationships, children orient themselves toward efforts to solve problems with their peers, handle their emotions, and think positively when relationships go awry," according to Rudolph.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and a University of Illinois Arnold O. Beckman Award.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Research in Child Development. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karen D. Rudolph, Jamie L. Abaied, Megan Flynn, Niwako Sugimura and Anna Monica Agoston. Developing Relationships, Being Cool, and Not Looking Like a Loser: Social Goal Orientation Predicts Children’s Responses to Peer Aggression. Child Development, 29 AUG 2011 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01631.x

Cite This Page:

Society for Research in Child Development. "Youths' social goals help determine response to bullying." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830082056.htm>.
Society for Research in Child Development. (2011, August 30). Youths' social goals help determine response to bullying. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830082056.htm
Society for Research in Child Development. "Youths' social goals help determine response to bullying." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110830082056.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) Violence can flare up at any moment in Bambari with only a bridge separating Muslims and Christians. Malnutrition is on the rise and lack of water means simple cooking fires threaten to destroy makeshift camps where people are living. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Media Criticizing Parents For Not Vaccinating Children

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) As the Disneyland measles outbreak continues to spread, the media says parents who choose not to vaccinate their children are part of the cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Bullying: How Do Victims Respond to Bullies and Why?

Aug. 30, 2011 Many wonder why bullies bully, but a new study looks at the other side of the equation: How do children respond to bullying and why? The answer, researchers say, may lead to more effective ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins