Bullying behaviors are linked to higher self-esteem, social status, and a lower rate of depression, according to a new provocative study. Researchers at Simon Fraser University observed a group of high school students finding that bullies had the highest self esteem, greatest social status, and were less likely to be depressed, as reported by National Post.This may actually help explain a key difference between sigmas and alphas, as well as why the two sexual alpha-variants tend to harbor a certain amount of dislike for one another. Sigmas are not bullies, and most of them tend to actively dislike bullies of any rank. Alphas bully in order to maintain their social status, although to be fair, they don't tend to be vicious like the gamma bullies desperately trying to keep themselves from being perceived as omegas.
“Humans tend to try to establish a rank hierarchy,” Jennifer Wong, a criminology professor who led the study, told the Post. “When you’re in high school, it’s a very limited arena in which you can establish your rank, and climbing the social ladder to be on top is one of the main ways … Bullying is a tool you can use to get there.”
Wong notes that many anti-bullying initiatives try to change the behavior of bullies, but often don’t work. This is likely because behavior is hard-wired and not learned, she says. Experts suggest that schools might expand competitive, supervised activities as an alternative outlet to channel dominating behavior.
The new study surveyed 135 teenagers from a Vancouver high school using a standard questionnaire. Questions included things like how often individuals were hit or shoved. Researchers then categorized the students into four groups: bully, bystander, victim, or victim-bully.
About 11 percent of the group was categorized as bullies and they scored highest on self-esteem, social status, and lowest on depression, according to study.
In a separate study, Tony Volk, a Brock University psychologist, found among 178 teenagers surveyed, bullies also were more sexually active.
“The average bully isn’t particularly sadistic or even deeply argumentative,” he says. “What they really are is people driven for status.”
Perhaps because I was bullied quite a bit at a very young age, but I have a very strong and somewhat violent instinctive reaction to bullying. My senior year of high school, I got in trouble for beating up a fifth-grader, although in truth I did nothing more than pick him up by the throat, throw him up against a brick wall, and make him wet his pants while expanding his vocabulary.
I was called into the dean's office by the incredulous dean, who was very curious to know why a senior who had never gotten into any of that sort of trouble in the six years he'd known me would beat up a little kid after school and do so in front of practically the entire elementary school while wearing my letter jacket. (Apparently there were more than a few complaints made by various parents and teachers.) It wasn't exactly an inconspicuous affair.
After I explained that while picking up my little brothers, my third-grade brother had come to the car and said that a big mean fifth-grader had knocked down our first-grade brother and was making him cry, he closed his eyes and started shaking his head. By the time I explained that I had left the car running in the road and that my ninth-grade brother had literally gone over the hood and arrived right behind me, he was grinning. And after he called our mother, and was informed that the only way we would have been punished at home is if we hadn't promptly dealt with the little shit and put the fear of God and big brothers into him, he was chuckling.
I still intensely dislike bullying and those who needlessly seek to throw their weight around. And their tendency to bully others, however lightly, is one reason why I tend to respect alphas more than like them.