The Psychological Theory of Bullying

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The psychoanalytic perspective (Erikson’s psychosocial stages), Sigmund Freud Ego or psychological defense mechanism, and behaviorism and social learning theory, are important to understanding adolescent bullying. In the psychoanalytic approach, development is discontinuous and as such occurs in stages where “people move through a series of stages in which they confront conflicts between biological drives and social expectations, and how these conflicts are resolved depends on the person’s ability to learn, to cope with others and cope with stress” (Berk 2010, p.15). According to Sigmund Freud from this theory, individuals use a mechanism called psychological defense mechanisms which when they feel an overpowering anxiety, the ego employs to protect themselves against unwanted, scary feelings or weaknesses within their psyche or consciousness. The use of these defense mechanisms can be useful sometimes and also hurtful at other times to us and others, which emanates as aggressive behavior e.g. bullying [2]. Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development are important for understanding bully behavior. According to Erikson, a “basic psychological conflict which is resolved along a scale from positive to negative determines a healthy or maladaptive outcomes of each stage” [Berk 2010, p.16], in other words as the child grows and goes through each of the psychosocial stages, he or she negotiates new cognitive and emotional experiences which enables him or her to pass through the stage with either a positive or negative outcome. The effects and results of a negative outcome from the stages can be used to describe aggressive behavior such as bullying [Berk 2010, p.16]. According to the behaviorism and learning theory, they believed that b... ... middle of paper ... ...ctim [1]. From this article, the subjects were school-aged adolescents who were in the class 6-10th grade. I believe this article is well versed; however, it had some flaws or limitations. First, all of the data that was collected were student self-report, which I believe would not produce an accurate or substantial result. I believe having information from various sources is highly recommended in order to get good results and further help studies. Secondly, there was no inclusion of white male and female Americans in the sample that was surveyed. Also the article failed to address or show the association between cyber bullying and the traditional form of bullying. I believe that if this information were provided, it would provide a more suitable avenue to better understand adolescent bullying as a whole and also help future studies.
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