A research from School Psychology Quarterly showed that bullies and their victims share many childhood traits and only a few factors set them apart in their future paths, reports Sydney Morning Herald.
"Bullying is learned behavior," said Marilyn Campbell, an associate professor with the school of learning and professional studies at Queensland University of Technology. And she believed that bystanders’ intervention was "key to stopping it”.
The study found while bullies and victims may start off with similarities they tended to deal with problems in different ways. For example, victims were more likely to “internalise their problems and have low self-esteem”, while bullies were more likely to “externalise their problems through aggressive behaviors and have negative attitudes about other people”. Bullies were also more likely to have "lower academic achievement" and "to be negatively influenced by their peers". However, as they got older, bullies often became more popular, while victims became withdrawn in their teenage years.
On the other hand, Professor Campbell said it was a myth that bullies had low self-esteem. "In fact, they have an over-inflated sense of their own importance," she said.
The study also found boys were more likely to be bullies or victims but Professor Campbell said girls were increasingly involved in cyber-bullying.