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Journal Article


Smorti A, Ciucci E. Aggressive Behav. 2000; 26(1): 33-48.


(Copyright © 2000, International Society for Research on Aggression, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)






It is hypothesised that bullies and victims use different strategies to interpret social incongruence,An Italian version of Olweus [(1991): Erlbaum] and Whitney and Smith's [(1993): Educational Research 35:3-25] questionnaire on bullying was employed to select 61 bullies, 40 victims, and 101 controls from a wider sample of students aged 11, 12, and 13 years. Six stories dealing with themes of social interaction between two peers were chosen as the task of the study, These stories described an episode in which the protagonist carried out an act that violated his/her normal behaviour toward the peer. Three stories ended in negative violating acts and three ended in positive ones. Students were asked to try to imagine what had happened prior to the act and how the peer would react to such an act, Dependent variables were locus of attribution of the antecedents to the protagonist or to the environment; use of verbs indicating actions or mental events; and Aggressive, Prosocial, or Neutral reaction of the peer. Two main results were found: (1) tno main strategies of answer differentiated bullies and victims: bullies--more frequently than victims--used a Protagonist-Mental strategy in which stories were mainly completed using antecedents consisting of mental states of the protagonist, while victims-more frequently than bullies--used an En Environment-Action strategy, in which stories were mainly completed using, as antecedents, other people's actions toward the protagonist; and (2) bullies were more similar to the control group than victims were.


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