To examine whether bullying is strategic behavior aimed at obtaining or maintaining social dominance, 1129 9- to 12-year-old Dutch children were classified in terms of their role in bullying and in terms of their use of dominance oriented coercive and prosocial social strategies. Multi-informant measures of participants' acquired and desired social dominance were also included. Unlike non-bullying children, children contributing to bullying often were bistrategics in that they used both coercive and prosocial strategies and they also were socially dominant. Ringleader bullies also expressed a higher desire to be dominant. Among non-bullying children, those who tended to help victims were relatively socially dominant but victims and outsiders were not. Generally, the data supported the claim that bullying is dominance-oriented strategic behavior, which suggests that intervention strategies are more likely to be successful when they take the functional aspects of bullying behavior into account.
Copyright © 2011 Society for the Study of School Psychology. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.