New Insight Into Bully And Victim Profiles

New information on what makes people likely to become bullies or victims of bullying may provide helpful insight into preventing these dynamics from arising in the first place. Researchers at Louisiana State University and the University of California at Riverside looked at 153 different bully-oriented studies that were conducted over the past thirty years. They drew conclusions as to the social factors contributing to both sides of the bullying dynamic, and were also able to develop some key elements that were most influential in someone becoming a bully. In many cases, both bullies and victims of bullying share the same contributing factors. Most notably, both bullies and bullying victims were found to have a noticeable lack of social problem-solving skills.

On the side of the bullies themselves, struggling academically is the greatest additional indicator that someone is likely to become a bully. Coming from a household that has frequent conflict and being raised by parents with poor parenting skills also made someone more likely to become a bully. Researchers found that bullies consistently have low thoughts about themselves and others; poor school performance may only enhance those feelings. If the bully feels ostracized or unvalued because of these reasons, the lack of social problem-solving skills drives them to seek control through bullying others.

For victims of bullying, several factors are the same. Victims also feel negative thoughts about themselves and others, exhibit signs of aggression, and have problems with social skills. This new information is especially insightful for the anti-bullying movement, which has gained national traction to help prevent bullying and its consequences (depression, social isolation, and in the worst cases, suicide). However, current anti-bullying strategies suggest removing the aggressor from the situation. This information indicates that further isolating a bully only makes the situation worse. Instead, that person needs a combination of discipline and support in order to stabilize the areas in his or her life that are fueling the harmful behavior.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • anne


    July 13th, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    my two cents on adult bullies-they are those who have not achieved anything in life and want to prove their superiority or authority to those under them by bullying them.but always remember bullies,a good leader is not someone who bullies his subordinates!



    July 14th, 2010 at 2:55 AM

    I had read a study’s report a few months ago which says that most of the bullies in their adult lives were actually bullied themselves as kids!
    Which is to say that if a child is bullied in his early years,he may well turn into a bully himself later in life!
    This is a very serious and important finding and shows how bullying is like a communicable disease and needs to be eradicated because it is becoming such a major problem for so many people.

  • Cynthia


    July 14th, 2010 at 4:24 AM

    My own child is a bully i think- what should i do?

  • King of Rock!

    King of Rock!

    July 14th, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    ^^ Try showing your kid how bad it is to be bullied by actually pretending to be a bully to him. that is one language kids surely understand! :)

  • Dr. TCH

    Dr. TCH

    July 17th, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    In Transactional Analysis, we learned that victims of bullying often turn into bullies down the road. And, in a much larger context, I’d suggest that this may be true of the state of Israel..with many of its early citizens having been Nazi victims.

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