Children who have been bullied at school are likely to develop violent behavior later in their lives, according to the results of a new study by scientists from the University of Cordoba and the University of Cambridge. They collectively studied the aspects related to violence, thus helping to reduce the risks and prevent it.
They investigated possible risk and protection factors from violence and, in this way, verified whether violent behavior can be predicted months or even years before it develops.
Specifically, the study focused on discovering whether morality, victimization, empathy, and social and emotional skills predict the expression of different violent behaviors in children and adolescents in different settings, including at school and in a context familiar.
“These behaviors refer, for example, to problematic behaviors at home, including physical violence against parents and siblings, at school, including physical violence against teaching staff and classmates, and in other contexts, including bad behavior in public, “said Raquel Espejo Siles, a PhD student at the University of Cordoba who carried out this research during her stay at the Cambridge University Institute of Criminology thanks to an ELMER grant from Diputacion de Cordoba.
Raquel Espejo worked with Izabela Zych, Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cordoba and part of the LAECOVI research group, whose line of research within the framework of this study. The study also had the participation of David P. Farrington, Emeritus Professor of Criminology at the University of Cambridge, and Vicente J. Llorent, Professor in the Department of Education of the University of Cordoba.
871 students between 10 and 17 years old in different Andalusian educational centers took part in the research. They filled out two questionnaires, one in June 2017 and one in June 2018.
Interesting conclusions were drawn from the results.
“We found that violence used directly against people was related to a tendency to make impulsive decisions and a blind motivation to achieve one’s goals, regardless of the disadvantages or negative consequences of using violence,” said Raquel Espejo.
Furthermore, being bullied has been found to be a risk factor for developing violent behavior at home against one’s family as well as at school. Likewise, those people who were violent in public or in the classroom were shown to have higher scores in terms of moral disengagement, which means they usually apologized so that these acts seemed less serious than they actually were.
At school, higher scores for social and emotional skills such as social awareness, self-management, motivation and decision-making were found to be protective factors against violence.
Therefore, these findings support prevention initiatives based on the learning potential of social and emotional skills at home as well as at school.
The data show that reducing victimization in one school setting could be effective in decreasing violence in different settings in the future.
“It is important to prevent violence, both victimization and bullying, as the data found in this study and others indicate that violence is a vicious circle. Being the aggressor or the victim carries a high risk of developing the opposite role, reinforcing and increasing violence both in and outside of school, “said Raquel Espejo.
According to this research study, allowing teens to reevaluate their goals and the consequences of their violent behavior could have an impact on decreasing violence later down the road, and teaching different strategies for solving problems in a different way could help them. to compare and see the high individual and social price to pay for violent behavior.
(This story was published by a branch agency with no text changes.)
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