Psychology Journal Article Report Essay, Research Paper
The Early Socialization of Aggressive Victims of Bullying:
The study conducted by Schwartz, Dodge, Pettit, and Bates (1997) dealt with the social habits of aggressive children who are also victimized by other children. The main difference first studied by the authors of the article was the difference between aggressive children and aggressive children who are victimized and the early social environment from which both groups emerged. They found that the latter were highly irritable by nature, easily provoked, and showed symptoms of negative forms of aggression. The non-victimized aggressive children, however, displayed positive forms of aggression – gaining higher status among classmates, achieving a goal, etc. Therefore, Schwartz et. al. (1997) formed the hypothesis based on the premise that the bully/victim state of a child depended on the child’s earlier social environment.
In order to determine the validity of the hypothesis, first and foremost, the experimenters gathered a group of 304 boys. Next, an experimenter visited the households of each child and conducted an interview with the maternal figure of each family. The mother was asked questions regarding the behavior of the child, the types and frequency of discipline used on the child, the degree to which the child was exposed to any form of violence, the relationship between the mother and child, the presence (if any) of marital conflict between the parental authorities, and finally the character of the family as a whole. These interviews provided the early social history of the children. In order to assess the presence, if any, of the aggressive victimized state of these same children, data was gathered five years later when the children were 8-9 years of age. The children were given questionnaires asking them to rate their classmates on the basis of which children they perceived to be bullied the most, which instigated the conflicts, which children were liked, and which were disliked.
The results of this experiment indicated that those children who experienced physical harm or abuse were more likely to be aggressive victims later on in life. Therefore, the inference that the early history of a child influenced the child’s status later in childhood was correct. The significance of these findings for the authors of this experiment is the fact that the environment in which a child is placed in during his beginning few years of development are crucial in molding the personality of a child later in life.
Society may benefit greatly from this finding because the rise in awareness for crimes including child abuse, rape, sexual abuse, and murder are often being connected to the past socialization patterns of the criminal. Court cases are continually referring to the criminals’ relation with peers, family history, familial environment, and classroom conduct. Therefore, the subject of repression of painful childhood events later erupting in anti-social behavior can be further understood by this particular study.
Schwartz, D., Dodge, K., Pettit, G., & Bates, J. (1997). The early socialization of aggressive victims of bullying. Child Development, 68, 665-675.