ERIC Number: EJ939900
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Rotten Apple or Rotten Barrel? Social Identity and Children's Responses to Bullying
Jones, Sian E.; Haslam, S. Alexander; York, Lucy; Ryan, Michelle K.
British Journal of Developmental Psychology, v26 n1 p117-132 Mar 2008
Recent research has suggested that bullying behaviour may be understood as a group process, where those involved act in ways predicted by social identity theory (Ojala & Nesdale, 2004). One relevant phenomenon is the black sheep effect, whereby individuals evaluate deviant members of their in-group more negatively than that of an out-group. To examine this process, a study was conducted (N=60) in which 10- and 11-year-old children were randomly assigned to a high-status, peripheral or irrelevant group. They were then read a scenario in which a member of the high-status group bullied a person outside the group and was supported by other high-status group members. It was found that assigned group membership affected judgements of the acceptability of the bullying behaviour and the likeability of both (a) the high-status group and (b) the high-status group member. Specifically, evidence of a black sheep effect meant that high-status group members showed less liking for the high-status group member than for the high-status group, and believed that this member deserved greater punishment than the high-status group as a whole. Peripheral group members differentiated between the high-status group member and the high-status group in terms of liking but not punishment, while members of the irrelevant group did not make a distinction on either measure. Implications for the conceptualization of bullying are discussed.
Descriptors: Group Membership, Bullying, Punishment, Identification (Psychology), Responses, Social Influences, Peer Relationship, Preadolescents, Social Status, Peer Influence, Individual Differences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
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