Bullying behavior among prisoners

A study conducted among Pakistani female offenders


Bullying is a problem that has existed with human beings for a long time although it has been an ignored area of research. It started as an empirical study in 1970’s initially focusing on schools, later approaching towards workplaces, armed forces and prisons. Bullying in prison has been studied but on a lower scale with a very limited sample, although this is a very important setting for bullying to occur very frequently. The general thesis is that bullying is a sort of interference in the life and affairs of others, restricting, in due course, the freedom of those who are targeted. Putting the various definitions together, we may generally characterize it as a repetitive activity based upon an asymmetrical power relationship1 that involves a systematic power abuse and causes fear or harm in the victim2. It is unprovoked3 and pervasive, occurring within a wide range of locations4–5 but, according to Besage6, in a hidden way from third party authorities. A more specific definition of bullying might be that it is a behavior accompanied by direct and/or indirect aggression towards a victim on a regular basis by the same or different perpetrator/s. Olweus1 considers that if an individual believes or fears that he/she is at risk of future victimization by the same or other perpetrators it can be considered as bullying. All the above studies have attempted to elucidate various aspects of bullying such as solely bullied (pure victims), exclusively bullying others (pure bully), reaction to victimization (bully/victim), and neutral (neither bully nor victim), being bully/ victim group the most prevalent7.


Sexual Harassment Young Offender Indirect Aggression Female Prisoner Asymmetrical Power 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, School of PhilosophyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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