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Effects of group norms on children's intentions to bully

Nesdale, D. and Durkin, K. and Maass, A. and Kiesner, J. and Griffiths, J.A. (2008) Effects of group norms on children's intentions to bully. Social Development, 17 (4). pp. 889-907. ISSN 0961-205X

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Abstract

A minimal group study examined the effect of peer group norms on children's direct and indirect bullying intentions. Prior to an inter-group drawing competition, children (N = 85) aged seven and nine years were assigned to a group that had a norm of out-group dislike or out-group liking. Results indicated that, regardless of group norms, the children's attitudes were more positive towards the in-group vs. the out-group. Children's bullying intentions were greater when the in-group had a norm of out-group dislike vs. out-group liking, the children were younger rather than older, and the bullying was indirect vs. direct. A three-way interaction showed that the in-group norms had a larger effect on the younger children's direct rather than indirect bullying intentions, but a larger effect on the older children's indirect rather than direct bullying intentions. Implications for understanding school bullying intentions and behaviour are discussed.