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Bullying in preschool: The associations between participant roles, social competence, and social preference

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Description:
The different roles of bullying participation (bully, follower, victim, defender of the victim, and outsider) have not been investigated in preschool children. The aims of this study were to use a peer-report measure to assess these roles and to investigate their associations with social competence among pre-schoolers. We also explored whether status among peers, indicated by being socially preferred, mediates the relationship between social competence and bullying roles. Three hundred twenty 3- to 6-year-old children participated in the study. Bullying roles and social preference were assessed by means of peer reports, whereas social competence was investigated with a Q-Sort methodology, based on observations in classrooms. Bullying was also assessed by means of teacher reports. The results showed quite a clear distinction among roles and a correspondence between peer and teacher assessments, except for the role of outsider. The role of defender was positively associated with social competence, whereas the other roles were negatively associated. In a subsample, social preference statistically predicted the role of bully and mediated between social competence and bullying. The findings are discussed in terms of the importance of assessing bullying and its correlates at a very young age, although roles may further develop when children grow up. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
Country:
Italy

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