Variations in perceived feelings of guilt, influence, and attitudes can alter a person’s behavior. The following article focused on the development and evaluation of a measure that explored how these self-perceptions affect the behaviour of the various participant roles involved in bullying situations. The participant roles explored included the bully, assistant, reinforcer, victim, defender, and outsider. The initial measure started with 30-items; 10-items for each measure (guilt, influence, and attitudes). The principal component analysis helped reduced the total number of items to 15 with guilt, influence, and attitudes all broken up into two components. Internal guilt measured the respondent’s guilt based on their own actions, external guilt measured the level of guilt based on the presence of others. Internal influence measured the respondent’s perceived influence on others and external influence measured the influence of others on the respondent’s role. Internal attitudes measured a person’s attitudes towards bullying and external attitudes measured a person’s perceived disassociation between their attitudes and their role. The results showed acceptable to good reliability on all measures except internal influence. Future researchers exploring participant roles associated with bullying can use this measure to better understand the motives behind specific behaviors.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Asch, S. E., & Guetzkow, H. (1951). Effects of group pressure upon the modification and distortion of judgments. Groups, Leadership, and Men, 222–236.
Atlas, R. S., & Pepler, D. J. (1998). Observations of bullying in the classroom. The Journal of Educational Research, 92, 86–99. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220679809597580.
Baldry, A. C. (2004). ‘What about bullying?’ An experimental field study to understand students' attitudes towards bullying and victimisation in Italian middle schools. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 74, 583–598. https://doi.org/10.1348/0007099042376391.
Bandura, A. (1999). Moral disengagement in the perpetration of inhumanities. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 3, 193–209. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327957pspr0303_3.
Bartlett, M. S. (1954). A note on multiplying factors for various chi-squared approximations. Journal of Royal Statistical Society, Series B, 16, 296–298.
Boster, F. J., Mitchell, M. M., Lapinski, M. K., Cooper, H., Orrego, V. O., & Reinke, R. (1999). The impact of guilt and type of compliance-gaining message on compliance. Communication Monographs, 66, 168–177. https://doi.org/10.1080/03637759909376470.
Boulton, M. J., Trueman, M., & Flemington, I. (2002). Associations between secondary school pupils' definitions of bullying, attitudes towards bullying, and tendencies to engage in bullying: age and sex differences. Educational Studies, 28, 353–370. https://doi.org/10.1080/0305569022000042390.
Burns, S., Cross, D., & Maycock, B. (2010). “That could be me squishing chips on someone’s car.” How friends can positively influence bullying behaviors. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 31, 209–222. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-010-0218-4.
Cattell, R. B. (1966). The scree test for the number of factors. Multivariate Behavioural Research, 1, 245–276.
Chapman, M., Zahn-Waxler, C., Cooperman, G., & Iannotti, R. (1987). Empathy and responsibility in the motivation of children's helping. Developmental Psychology, 23, 140–145. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-16126.96.36.199.
Chen, L. M., Cheng, W., & Ho, H. C. (2013). Perceived severity of school bullying in elementary schools based on participants’ roles. Educational Psychology, 35, 1-13. 10.1080/01443410.2013.860220
Cialdini, R. B., & Goldstein, N. J. (2004). Social influence: Compliance and conformity. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 591–621. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.142015.
Craig, W., Harel-Fisch, Y., Fogel-Grinvald, H., Dostaler, S., Hetland, J., Simons-Morton, B., et al. (2009). A cross-national profile of bullying and victimization among adolescents in 40 countries. International Journal of Public Health, 54, 216–224. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-009-5413-9.
Darley, J. M., & Latane, B. (1968). Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 8, 377–383. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0025589.
Dijkstra, J. K., Lindenberg, S., & Veenstra, R. (2008). Beyond the class norm: Bullying behavior of popular adolescents and its relation to peer acceptance and rejection. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 1289–1299. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-008-9251-7.
Due, P., Holstein, B. E., Lynch, J., Diderichsen, F., Gabhain, S. N., Scheidt, P., & Currie, C. (2005). Bullying and symptoms among school-aged children: International comparative cross sectional study in 28 countries. European Journal of Public Health, 15, 128–132. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cki105.
Ferguson, T. J. (2005). Mapping shame and its functions in relationships. Child Maltreatment, 10, 377–386. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077559505281430.
Garandeau, C. F., Ahn, H. J., & Rodkin, P. C. (2011). The social status of aggressive students across contexts: The role of classroom status hierarchy, academic achievement, and grade. Developmental Psychology, 47, 1699–1710. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025271.
Gini, G. (2006). Social cognition and moral cognition in bullying: what's wrong? Aggressive Behavior, 32, 528–539. https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.20153.
Gini, G., Pozzoli, T., & Hauser, M. (2011). Bullies have enhanced moral competence to judge relative to victims, but lack moral compassion. Personality and Individual Differences, 50, 603–608. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.12.002.
Grissinger, M. (2012). Actively caring for the safety of patients: Overcoming bystander apathy. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 37, 317–319.
Harris, J. R., & Pinker, S. (2011). The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.
Huitsing, G., & Veenstra, R. (2012). Bullying in classrooms: Participant roles from a social network perspective. Aggressive Behavior, 38, 494–509. https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.21438.
Juvonen, J., & Galvan, A. (2008). Peer influence in inventory social groups: Lessons from research on bullying. In M. J. Prinstein & K. A. Dodge (Eds.), Understanding peer influence in children and adolescents. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Kaiser, H. F. (1970). A second-generation little jiffy. Psycometrika, 35, 401–415.
Kaiser, H. F. (1974). An index of factorial simplicity. Psycometrika, 35, 401–415.
Lodder, G. M. A., Scholte, R. H. J., Cillessen, A. H. N., & Giletta, M. (2016). Bully victimization: Selection and influence within adolescent friendship networks and cliques. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 132–144. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-015-0343-8.
Lorenz, K. (1966). On aggression. Austria: Methuen Publishing.
Menesini, E., & Camodeca, M. (2008). Shame and guilt as behavior regulators: Relationships with bullying, victimization and prosocial behavior. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 26, 183–196. https://doi.org/10.1348/026151007X205281.
Menesini, E., Codecasa, E., Benelli, B., & Cowie, H. (2003). Enhancing children's responsibility to take action against bullying: Evaluation of a befriending intervention in Italian middle schools. Aggressive Behavior, 29, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.80012.
Menesini, E., Palladino, B. E., & Nocentini, A. (2015). Emotions of moral disengagement, class norms, and bullying in adolescence: A multilevel approach. Merrill - Palmer Quarterly, 61, 124–143. https://doi.org/10.1080/15388220903185639.
Milgram, S. (1974). Obedience to authority: An experimental view. The University of Michigan: Harper & Row.
Morrow, A., & Downey, C. A. (2013). Perceptions of adolescent bullying: Attributions of blame and responsibility in cases of cyber-bullying. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 54, 536–540. https://doi.org/10.1111/sjop.12074.
Nesdale, D., Durkin, K., Maass, A., & Griffiths, J. (2004). Group status, outgroup ethnicity and children's ethnic attitudes. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 25, 237–251. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2004.02.005.
Nickerson, A. B., Mele, D., & Princiotta, D. (2008). Attachment and empathy as predictors of roles as defenders or outsiders in bullying interactions. Journal of School Psychology, 46, 687–703. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2008.06.002.
O'Connell, P., Pepler, D., & Craig, W. (1999). Peer involvement in bullying: Insights and challenges for intervention. Journal of Adolescence, 22, 437–452. https://doi.org/10.1006/jado.1999.0238.
Olthof, T. (2012). Anticipated feelings of guilt and shame as predictors of early adolescents' antisocial and prosocial interpersonal behavior. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9, 371–388. https://doi.org/10.1080/17405629.2012.680300.
Olthof, T., Schouten, A., Kuiper, H., Stegge, H., & Jennekens-Schinkel, A. (2000). Shame and guilt in children: Differential situational antecedents and experimental correlates. The British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 18, 51–64. https://doi.org/10.1348/026151000165562.
Olthof, T., Ferguson, T., Bloemers, E., & Deij, M. (2004). Morality- and identity-related antecedents of children's guilt and shame attributions in events involving physical illness. Cognition and Emotion, 18, 383–404. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699930341000077.
Olthof, T., Goossens, F. A., Vermande, M. M., Aleva, E. A., & Van Der Meulen, M. (2011). Bullying as strategic behavior: relations with desired and acquired dominance in the peer group. Journal of School Psychology, 49, 339–359. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2011.03.003.
Olweus, D. (1989). Bully/victim questionnaire for students. Department of Psychology: University of Bergen.
Olweus, D. (1999). Sweeden. In P. K. Smith, Y. Morita, J. Junger-Tas, D. Olweus, R. Calalano, & P. Slee (Eds.), The nature of school bullying: A cross-national perspective (pp. 7–28). London: Routledge.
O'Moore, M., & Minton, S. J. (2011). Cyber-bullying: The Irish experience. Incorporated: Novinka/Nova Science Publisher's.
Osumi, T., Osawa, H., & Imai, M. (2016). Simulation of bullying and conforming in a class based on socion theory. Electronics and Communications in Japan, 99, 12–24. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecj.11786.
Owens, L., Shute, R., & Slee, P. (2000). I’m in and you’re out. Psychology, Evolution & Gender, 2, 19–46. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616660050082906.
Pepler, D. J., & Craig, W. M. (1995). A peek behind the fence: Naturalistic observations of aggressive children with remote audiovisual recording. Developmental Psychology, 31, 548–553. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-16188.8.131.528.
Pozzoli, T., & Gini, G. (2010). Active defending and passive bystanding behavior in bullying: The role of personal characteristics and perceived peer pressure. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 815–827. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-010-9399-9.
Pozzoli, T., & Gini, G. (2013). Why do bystanders of bullying help or not? A multidimensional model. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 33, 315–340. https://doi.org/10.1177/0272431612440172.
Pozzoli, T., Gini, G., & Vieno, A. (2012). The role of individual correlates and class norms in defending and passive bystanding behavior in bullying: A multilevel analysis. Child Development, 83, 1917–1931. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01831.x.
Prinstein, M. J., & Cillessen, A. H. N. (2003). Forms and functions of adolescent peer aggression associated with high levels of peer status. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 49, 310–342.
Pronk, J., Goossens, F. A., Olthof, T., De Mey, L., & Willemen, A. M. (2013). Children's intervention strategies in situations of victimization by bullying: Social cognitions of outsiders versus defenders. Journal of School Psychology, 51, 669–682. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2013.09.002.
Rigby, K. (2005). Why do some children bully at school?: The contributions of negative attitudes towards victims and the perceived expectations of friends, parents, and teachers. School Psychology International, 26, 147–161. https://doi.org/10.1177/0143034305052910.
Rigby, K., & Slee, P. T. (1991). Bullying among Australian school children: Reported behavior and attitudes toward victims. Journal of Social Psychology, 131, 615–627. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.1991.9924646.
Roland, E., & Galloway, D. (2002). Classroom influences on bullying. Educational Research, 44, 299–312. https://doi.org/10.1080/0013188022000031597.
Roos, S., Hodges, E. V. E., & Salmivalli, C. (2014). Do guilt-and shame-proneness differentially predict prosocial, aggressive, and withdrawn behaviors during early adolescence? Developmental Psychology, 50, 941–946. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0033904.supp.
Salmivalli, C., & Voeten, M. (2004). Connections between attitudes, group norms, and behavior in bullying situations. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 28, 246–258. https://doi.org/10.1080/01650250344000488.
Salmivalli, C., Lagerspetz, K., Björkqvist, K., Österman, K., & Kaukiainen, A. (1996). Bullying as a group process: Participant roles and their relations to social status within the group. Aggressive Behavior, 22, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2337(1996)22:1<1::AID-AB1>3.0.CO;2-T.
Salmivalli, C., Lappalainen, M., & Lagerspetz, K. M. J. (1998). Stability and change of behavior in connection with bullying in schools: A two-year follow-up. Aggressive Behavior, 24, 205–218. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2337(1998)24:3<205::AID-AB5>3.0.CO;2-J.
Sentse, M., Scholte, R., Salmivalli, C., & Voeten, M. (2007). Person-group dissimilarity in involvement in bullying and its relation with social status. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35, 1009–1019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-007-9150-3.
Stauffacher, K., & DeHart, G. B. (2006). Crossing social contexts: Relational aggression between siblings and friends during early and middle childhood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27, 228–240. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2006.02.004.
Tagney, J. P., & Dearing, R. L. (2002). Shame and guilt. New York: Guilford Press.
Thornberg, R., Wänström, L., & Pozzoli, T. (2016). Peer victimization and its relation to class relational climate and class moral disengagement among school children. Educational Psychology, 37, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443410.2016.1150423.
Ttofi, M. M., & Farrington, D. P. (2011). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: A systematic and meta-analytic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 7, 27–56. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11292-010-9109-1.
Turner, J. C. (1999). Some current issues in research on social identity and self-categorization theories. In N. Ellemers, R. Spears & B. Doosje (Eds.), Social identity (pp. 6-34): Oxford Blackwell.
Vaillancourt, T., Hymel, S., & McDougall, P. (2003). Bullying is power. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 19, 157–176. https://doi.org/10.1300/J008v19n02_10.
Whatley, M. A., Webster, J. M., Smith, R. H., & Rhodes, A. (1999). The effect of a favor on public and private compliance: How internalized is the norm of reciprocity? Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 21, 251–259. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15324834BASP2103_8.
Younan, B. (2018). A systematic review of bullying definitions: How definition and format affect study outcome. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research. https://doi.org/10.1108/JACPR-02-2018-0347.
Disclosure of Interest
Authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
Ethical Standards and Informed Consent
All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation [RMIT University]. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Younan, B. How Does Guilt, Influence and Attitudes Effect the Role We Play in Bullying? The Self-Perception Measure. Journ Child Adol Trauma 12, 489–499 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40653-019-0246-z
- Group processes