Adolescent Bullying in Schools: An Evolutionary Perspective

  • Anthony A. VolkEmail author
  • Ann H. Farrell
  • Prarthana Franklin
  • Kimberly P. Mularczyk
  • Daniel A. Provenzano
Part of the Evolutionary Psychology book series (EVOLPSYCH)


Bullying is a common behavior that negatively impacts the lives of up to hundreds of millions of adolescents each year. Schools are a major venue for bullying behaviors that tend to peak during adolescence. To better understand bullying amongst adolescents in school settings we adopt an evolutionary viewpoint that highlights the forms and functions of bullying. We begin by defining bullying and from there review the evidence that shows these behaviors are adaptive in some contexts. We then explore how parents, teachers, peers, and schools influence the expression and potential costs and benefits of bullying. Particular attention is paid to the potential mismatch of the modern interactions between adolescents and these four social factors and ancestral versions of those interactions. Where possible, we make comments and recommendations regarding interventions in light of these interactions and the potentially adaptive nature of bullying.


School bullying Evolution Adolescence Bullying 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony A. Volk
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ann H. Farrell
    • 2
  • Prarthana Franklin
    • 1
  • Kimberly P. Mularczyk
    • 1
  • Daniel A. Provenzano
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child and Youth Studies, Brock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada
  2. 2.Department of Psychology, Brock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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