Although being bullied has adverse consequences regardless of whether other students witness it, public victimization, especially when other students watch but don’t offer any assistance, is particularly humiliating (Nishina, 2012). Sadly, the effects of being harassed in middle school are still observed in high school (Rusby, Forrester, Biglan, & Metzler, 2005) and later in adulthood (Wolke, Copeland, Angold, & Costello, 2013) Many adolescents who report having been victimized also report bullying others. These adolescents have the greatest adjustment problems, just as children who are both aggressive and withdrawn are typically the most
disturbed (Bradshaw, Waasdorp, Goldweber, & Johnson, 2012; Copeland, Wolke, Angold, & Costello, 2013; Winsper, Lereya, Zanari, & Wolke, 2012). One reason that bullying and victimization are often seen in the same children is that some adolescents react to victimization by becoming more aggressive and bullying other children. (Victims are more likely to become bullies than the reverse [Haltigan & Vaillancourt, 2014].) Another may be that certain elements of the broader context— the climate of the school, for instance—may increase or decrease the likelihood of aggression between classmates (Ferráns & Selman, 2014). Teachers and principals may be able to make changes in their school’s climate that will reduce aggression between students a significant amount of bullying occurs outside of school— according to one national survey, in fact, more high school students reported being victimized outside school than at school (Turner, Finkelhor, Hamby, Shattuck, & Ormrod, 2011 Adolescents’ responses to being bullied vary. One recent study found that there were four categories of victims: those who were mainly passive (e.g., ignoring the bully or walking away), those who were mainly aggressive (e.g., fighting back, either physically or verbally), those who were support-seeking (e.g., telling a parent), and those who did a little of everything. (Support-seeking was reported by middle school students but was rarely seen in high school, perhaps because at this age, asking an adult for help in responding to a bully is seen as immature and weak.) victims who used passive strategies reported fewer emotional or behavioral problems than those who fought back, sought help, or used a mixture of approaches (Waasdorp & Bradshaw, 2011), although feeling supported by parents or teachers (if not directly asking for their help) seems to have a protective effect against the adverse effects of victimization (Yeung & Leadbeater, 2013). Other studies find that victims who avoid blaming themselves for having been bullied and respond by behaving proactively (avoiding the bully), rather than retaliating, fare better (Singh & Bussey, 2011). Although it is hard to persuade adolescents that these are the most effective responses, it helps to explain that bullies do what they do in order to get attention, and that when they are ignored, they are likely to seek other targets (Steinberg, 2011)
e. Helping Unpopular Teens
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