Socially Undesirable Need Not Be Incompetent: A Response to Crick and Dodge

  • Sutton J
  • Smith P
  • Swettenham J
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This article responds to a comment on an article about child aggression. Detailed definitions of bullying are important. The field gas been dogged by a lack of consensus on the essential features of bullying, and consideration of the ongoing debate would have deserved a paper in its own right. An all-inclusive definition can be useful for general delineation of an area, and the systematic abuse of power is a definition of this kind. The term bullying is increasingly being used in social contexts such as the workplace, prisons, and the armed forces, where power relationships can be exploited in aggressive ways. If a police office systematically extorts bribes from someone, this could indeed be considered bullying. More specific definitions are essential for research and indeed such definitions have been used by researchers; these generally specify an aggressive act which is repeated, along with an imbalance of power. However, the focus in the article was the social context and the many different forms of aggression that bullying can take, and it was argued that these points had not been considered extensively enough when applying social information-processing approach to bullying. Research was cited on other, related conduct problems to emphasize that they are not comparable but may nevertheless have been the foundation for the view of bullies as social inadequates.

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  • Jon Sutton

  • Peter K. Smith

  • John Swettenham

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