A recent study reported in the Boston Globe indicates that child abuse is a contributing cause to bullying. The reporting of this finding is long overdue and there should be more of it but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. The following are a few excerpts from the article:
‘The report found that students who said they had been involved in bullying, as both a perpetrator and a victim, were five times more likely to report they had been hurt physically by a family member, compared to those who said they were neither a victim nor a bully. And they were substantially more likely to have witnessed violence against other family members…..’
‘“These children are learning [violent behavior] in their families and behaving the same way in their social relationships with their peers,’’ said Elizabeth Englander, a psychology professor at Bridgewater State University and director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, which conducts research and runs antibullying programs in many public schools…..’
‘Glenn Koocher, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, said the findings from yesterday’s federal report do not surprise him….’
Complete Boston Globe article on the subject
There is still some research necessary to find out how different states compare with each other but the fact that domestic violence is a major contributing cause to bullying and additional violence later in life should be no surprise and the media should have done much more to report on it long ago. There are actually many more studies that support these conclusions that the recent article neglected to mention. These studies date back several decades aty least and the cumulative conclusion overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that child abuse leads to escalating violence including bullying.
This article cites just a hand full of studies which is typical of the way the media handles things and if they follow their past behavior they will probably provide little or no follow up. There is a chance that there might be an exception though; they have been reporting much more on bullying lately. However they have done little to draw this connection even though there was more evidence before this study came out. The Mass Media typically reports on this subject and many others very differently than it is handled in the academic world by good researchers into the subject. There are several different ways that the academics research this subject one is similar to the studies that have been reported in this article. This is what some sociologists like Murray Strauss do; only Murray Strauss and others are much more likely to cite many more studies that involve a large variety of different surveys or other ways of gathering statistical data and comparing them to each other. He has presented his work in the book, "Beating the Devil Out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Children," as well as many other research papers written by either him or others in the academic world.
Not everyone agrees that this is the most effective way to research the subject and in some ways they are certainly right; which is why other researchers including psychologist James Garbarino and Ellen deLara and others go about their research in a different manner. Instead of relying on surveys that gather a limited amount of information from a large number of people but don’t provide conclusive evidence of causation they conduct more in depth interviews with students and teachers. Some of these fluctuate; they may conduct interviews with some people that are relatively brief and they may go much more in depth with others and research more into the background deeply. If they came up with evidence that came to a different conclusion then the controversy and uncertainty over the subject might be understandable but instead they come up with a large amount of additional evidence that supports the conclusions that Murray Strauss and others come to.
These are just a small sample of the researchers that have compiled an enormous amount of evidence to indicate that much more attention should be drawn to this subject, and that if this is done then violence of all kind could be greatly reduced. Unfortunately there are also a lot of academic sources that come to different conclusions. I have no doubt though that if reasonable people took a close look at the work behind the conflicting conclusions that it will be clear that the group of researchers that strongly support the belief that child abuse leads to greater bullying and additional violence are right.
To read my past blogs on this subject that were written based on evidence that precedes this studies and excerpts from several books on the subject see the following:
Does child abuse and bullying lead to more violence?
Daddy’s Hands, Hard as steel when I’d done wrong.
Murray Straus: "Beating the Devil Out of Them: Corporal Punishment in American Children" 2001
James Garbarino and Ellen deLara: "And Words Can Hurt Forever: how to protect adolescents from bullying, harassment, and emotional violence" 2002
Joanne Scaglione, Arrica Rose Scaglione: "Bully-Proofing Children: a practical, hands-on guide to stop bullying" 2006
Also on a different subject I thought it was worth mentioning the pregnant girls and teachers that were arrested for protesting the government cuts by an appointee of the Michigan governor who replaced the elected official without any approval of the public; this is an authoritarian move as indicated in the following cites.
(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)