Bullies’ accomplices suffer similar levels of distress as victims, finds study

The Vancouver Sun:

It’s been more than 10 years since the bullying began, but there are days when Ishani Nath’s memories still feel fresh: the shame, the disconnection, the loss of control. But unlike so many similar tales, the Toronto woman wasn’t a victim in Junior High but rather a perpetrator.

Starting at a new school, Nath learned quickly that falling in line with the alpha girls – “selectively ignoring certain people, giggling when others went by, and spreading more gossip than a tabloid” – put her on the fast track to social dominance. What she didn’t bet on was the potential for her behaviour to cut both ways.

According to a new study in Psychological Science, the distress people feel when complying with a request to shun someone is virtually equal to that of their target. They’re also exponentially more likely to experience shame and guilt, a decline in autonomy, and reduced connectedness.

“This work really shows that it goes against our nature to hurt other people,” said lead author Nicole Legate, a clinical psychology researcher at the University of Rochester. “It should provide even more incentive for parents and teachers to help curb prejudice.”

Read the whole story: The Vancouver Sun


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