Date of Conferral
While current psychological theory and research suggest conceptual associations between bullying and behavioral disorders, there is a gap in the literature examining such relationships. Although contemporary theories of aggression describe emotional, social, and cognitive risk factors that are common both, associations between bully-victim patterns and ODD have not been studied to date. This exploratory study addressed this gap by surveying 27 teachers to assess their reports of aggressive behaviors and socioemotional patterns of 58 male middle school students who were identified through school investigations as involved in bullying incidents. Between-group differences for students classified as bullies, victims, or bully-victims were examined for symptoms of behavioral disorders (including ODD) and types of aggression (proactive, reactive). Measures included the Bully Behavior questionnaire, SNAP-IV, and Teacher Rating Scale. Kruskal-Wallis analyses of between-group differences indicated that, in general, bullies and bully-victims scored higher than victims on measures of behavioral symptoms and aggression but did not differ from each other on any behavioral disorders or types of aggression. Findings may reflect difficulties with measurement instruments sensitive enough to identify differences between bully and bully-victim behaviors, and with limitations to teachers' observations of students' interpersonal behaviors. Further, current school investigations do not adequately recognize bully-victim patterns. However, this study's attention to possible unique risks of behavioral disorders in bully-victim behavior patterns can inform schools, families, and communities to consider these risk factors and in their efforts to offer more effective approaches for prevention and intervention.