Mapping the socio-cognitive determinants of bullying and victimization: Preventative steps toward reducing childhood aggression

Bullying and victimization plague one in five Canadian children and the incidence and severity of such behaviours is increasing. Even more alarming are the long-term consequences of this behaviour, including delinquency and abusive behaviour in adulthood for bullies, and depression and suicidal behaviour for victims. Most programs designed to prevent bullying and victimization emphasize controlling and monitoring children’s lives, with limited success. Bryan Sokol’s research takes a different approach. Sokol is putting together psychological profiles of children who are routinely aggressive and those who engage in bullying. His study aims to identify the internal, or psychological factors that distinguish non-aggressive children from bullies. Sokol, who has previously researched suicide among First Nations adolescents, hopes his study will ultimately lead to more effective prevention of the health problems resulting from childhood aggression.