The Social Behavior Competencies of Self-Identified Bullies as Assessed by Students Themselves Plus Parents and Teachers
This two-study investigation examined the social behavior competencies of a sample of students ages 8 to 18 who identified themselves as either bullies or non-bullies based on ratings of items on a comprehensive behavior rating scale. Specifically, the purpose of Study 1 was to establish criteria using the Social Skills Improvement System – Student Rating Scale (SSIS-S) to identify students from a nationally representative standardization sample who displayed high frequencies of bullying behaviors. The social behavior ratings for these self-identified bullies were then compared with all other students in the national sample and analyzed to determine differences among various domains of social skills and problem behaviors. In Study 2, the same students’ social behaviors were rated by adult informants to determine if there was added value in including parents and teachers in the assessment of the self-identified bullies. Finally, the extent of concurrent agreement was examined for all students among the teachers, parents, and students’ ratings of social skills and problem behavior domains. Study 1 revealed that self-identified bullies are not a homogeneous group. The main findings from Study 2 showed parents and teachers may add to the overall predictive validity of the student self-report assessment, but not the accuracy of classifying the students as bullies. Study 2 showed differences and similarities exist across the ratings provided by each rater. The relative value of including adult reports in the self-assessment likely lies in the reported differences from each rater, as they provide a more complete social behavior profile for each student. These findings are discussed in terms of existing research and theories regarding children and youths’ bullying behavior. Limitations and recommendations for future research conclude the report.