Original Article

Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 259-273

First online:

A Theoretical Test of Bullying Behavior: Parenting, Personality, and the Bully/Victim Relationship

  • Daniel PontzerAffiliated withCriminology and Criminal Justice, University of North Florida Email author 

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An index of bullying behavior was used to measure the extent that 527 university students (51% female and 49% male) were involved in bullying in the past couple of months. This index included measures of physical, verbal, indirect-relational, property, coercive, racial, and sexual bullying. Participants were classified into the categories of bully (23.7%), victim (19.9%), bully/victim (9.6%), and not involved in bullying. The type of parenting the students were exposed to growing up and the presence of personality traits reflective of Reintegrative Shaming Theory were also measured. Current bullying was positively associated with being a bully during childhood, impulsiveness, having a tendency to displace shame, being male, being exposed to parental stigmatization, and being younger. Being a victim was positively associated with a tendency to internalize shame, being a victim during childhood, being younger, and being a childhood bully. Shame displacement was negatively associated with being a victim.


Bullying Victim Parenting Personality Shame