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Journal Article


Ireland JL, Bescoby N. Aggressive Behav. 2005; 31(1): 67-83.


(Copyright © 2005, International Society for Research on Aggression, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)






The current study explored the nature and extent of direct, indirect, and coercive bullying behaviours among adult male forensic patients residing on a Personality-Disorder Unit. There was a subsidiary aim of examining the prevalence and characteristics of four categories of patients, namely 'pure bullies,' 'bully/victims,' 'pure victims,' and those 'not-involved.' It was predicted that patients would report more indirect than direct bullying behaviours and that bully/victims would represent the most prevalent category overall. It was also predicted that the four bully-categories would be predicted by the behaviours that they demonstrated. The sample consisted of 53 adult male patients. Bullying behaviour was assessed using the Direct and Indirect Patient behaviour Checklist - Hospital version (DIPC-H). Approximately half of all patients reported engaging in at least one interaction defined as 'bullying others' in the previous week. Estimates of behaviours indicative of 'being bullied' were markedly higher with over half reporting at least one interaction in the previous week. Indirect aggression was reported more frequently than direct aggression. Within direct aggression, verbal behaviours were reported most frequently. Bully/victims were found to represent the most prevalent category with just over one-third of all patients classified as such followed by pure victims, pure bullies, and those not-involved. The categories were not predicted by personal/descriptive characteristics such as age, ethnic origin, length of time spent in the hospital, on the ward, and in secure settings throughout their life. Bully/victims were predicted by increased negative behaviour, with no behavioural predictors found for the other categories. The implications of these findings for anti-bullying strategies and future research are presented.


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