The early socialization of aggressive victims of bullying

Child Dev. 1997 Aug;68(4):665-75.


This study reports the first prospective investigation of the early family experiences of boys who later emerged as both aggressive and bullied (i.e., aggressive victims) during their middle childhood years. It was hypothesized that a history of violent victimization by adults leads to emotion dysregulation that results in a dual pattern of aggressive behavior and victimization by peers. Interviews with mothers of 198 5-year-old boys assessed preschool home environments. Four to 5 years later, aggressive behavior and peer victimization were assessed in the school classroom. The early experiences of 16 aggressive victims were contrasted with those of 21 passive (nonaggressive) victims, 33 nonvictimized aggressors, and 128 normative boys. Analyses indicated that the aggressive victim group had experienced more punitive, hostile, and abusive family treatment than the other groups. In contrast, the nonvictimized aggressive group had a history of greater exposure to adult aggression and conflict, but not victimization by adults, than did the normative group, whereas the passive victim group did not differ from the normative group on any home environment variable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Peer Group*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Socialization*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires