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Child Maltreat. 2000 Nov;5(4):299-310.

Dating experiences of bullies in early adolescence.

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  • 1York University, Department of Psychology, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada.


In this study, 196 young adolescents who reported that they bullied their peers were identified out of a sample of 1,758 students in Grades 5 through 8. After selecting from the total sample a group of nonbullying youth who were matched on gender, school, and grade, a comparison was made of the groups' dating experiences, quality of friend and boyfriend or girlfriend relationships, and acts of physical and social aggression. The results indicated that bullies started dating earlier and engaged in more advanced dyadic dating than comparison adolescents. Bullies were highly relationship oriented, yet their views of their friends and boyfriends or girlfriends were less positive and less equitable than the comparison adolescents. Finally, bullies were more likely to report physical and social aggression with their boyfriends or girlfriends. Although the bullies reported more advanced pubertal development, this factor did not fully account for their dating precocity and negative romantic relationships. The results confirmed our hypotheses that adolescents whose peer relationships are characterized by bullying are at risk in their development of healthy romantic relationships.

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