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Male and Female Victims of Male Bullies: Social Status Differences by Gender and Informant Source


We examine two sources of variation in victims’ social adjustment: (a) the informant who identifies a child as victim (i.e., peer, self, or both), and (b) victim gender. Peer and self nominations were provided by 508 fourth and fifth graders from the Midwest U.S. Girls were more likely than boys to be victimized, and victims were evenly distributed among informant source. Self-nominated female victims had lower social status and were involved in more antipathies than their peer-nominated counterparts. Among boys, self-and-peer reported victims had the lowest social status. Having friends was associated with positive social adjustment. Implications are discussed for at-risk victim subgroups: girls whose self-reports of victimization are not validated by others, and boys whose victimization is publicly acknowledged.

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This research was supported by grants to the second author from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R03 HD48491-01) and the Spencer Foundation (Small Grant #20050079). The authors thank the children, teachers, and school principals who participated in and contributed to this project.

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Correspondence to Christian Berger.

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Berger, C., Rodkin, P.C. Male and Female Victims of Male Bullies: Social Status Differences by Gender and Informant Source. Sex Roles 61, 72–84 (2009).

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  • Victimization
  • Social status
  • Gender differences
  • Informant source