Defending behaviour in middle childhood and the associations with peer dynamics

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsConference Presentation


The current study focusses on understanding the peer dynamics involved in defending behaviour during middle childhood. Anti-bullying programmes often encourage children to take an anti-bullying stance to address the peer processes involved in bullying. It is therefore important that we understand why children defend others and the peer processes involved in this.
The current study focusses on 286, 7-11-year olds from 13 classes across 5 schools in England. The children were asked to provide peer-reports of the participant roles (aggressors, defenders, victims). Children also reported who they were defended by and whom they defended during episodes of peer-aggression. All children were asked to identify their friends were within the class and completed a Friendship Quality Questionnaire (Parker & Asher, 1993) to measure the quality of their relationship with their best friend.
We examine the social standing of defenders in the class, looking at their centrality within the peer friendship groups. We look at the quantity, reciprocity and quality of their friendships with others, with findings suggesting that their peer associations tend to be more positive than those of other children. We also explore with whom they form friendships, in terms of the role that these children take in bullying and whether defending tends to be more commonly observed within friendship groups. We discuss these findings in relation to the literature examining the motivations and consequences for defending within middle childhood. We will also consider the implications these findings have for anti-bullying work within schools.
Period21 Jun 2022
Event title26th Biennial meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD)
Event typeConference
LocationGreeceShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational