August 10, 2009

Not all bullies see themselves as bullies

Some students do not see themselves as bullies because they don't bully all the time, U.S. researchers said.

Brent Harger, a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington and now assistant professor of sociology at Albright College in Reading, Pa., said several researchers have examined bullying but have largely ignored the ways that bullying is actually defined by students.

Typically both students and researchers include physical and emotional abuse in their definitions of bullying, yet students differ from researchers in how they label others 'bullies,' Harger said in a statement.

However, students argue that if somebody is to be labeled a bully, he or she must fit that label at all times.

Students may participate in behavior that researchers would label bullying but not define themselves as bullies.

Harger told the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Toronto that because these students do not identify themselves as bullies, students are able to dismiss anti-bullying messages in schools as not for them.