Empathy for Bullies

As most people know, bullying has been a serious issue for many years now. While I am not necessarily looking to stop bullying through my research project, I am looking to examine the causes behind it. In seeing these motives, I hope to answer the question of whether or not people can empathize with bullies. Despite the fact that these bullies do some terrible things, perhaps they deserve some empathy in addition to shunning and disapproval. There could be some factors, such as the way a bully was treated growing up or some traumatizing experience that leads to the negative acts a bully commits. I understand that this topic is fairly similar to the question Adam Morton poses of whether or not we can empathize with those who commit atrocious acts, but I am looking to take a different approach on the topic, looking more at school aged kids than older people. Especially with the incredible advance in technology and social media use, this issue is as pressing as ever with younger people, and I feel like it will be a fitting topic to explore. Furthermore, I feel that this topic poses a controversial question that can only be well-answered with ample supporting evidence. Some of the sources that I will consider using are cited below.

External Sources:

Brank, Eve M., Lori A. Hoetger, and Katherine P. Hazen. “bullying.” Annual Review of Law and Social Science, vol. 8, 2012., pp. 213-230

Jolliffe, Darrick, and David P. Farrington. “Is Low Empathy Related to Bullying After Controlling for Individual and Social Background Variables?” Journal of Adolescence, vol. 34, no. 1, 2011., pp. 59-71

Moon, Byongook, Hye-Won Hwang, and John D. McCluskey. “Causes of School Bullying: Empirical Test of a General Theory of Crime, Differential Association Theory, and General Strain Theory.” Crime & Delinquency, vol. 57, no. 6, 2008., pp. 849-877

Prasad, Ron. “Empathy and Compasion for Bullies.” Empathy and Compassion for Bullies. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

Warden, D., and S. Mackinnon. “Prosocial Children, Bullies and Victims: An Investigation of their Sociometric Status, Empathy and Social Problem-Solving Strategies.” BRITISH JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 21, no. 3, 2003., pp. 367-385

89 thoughts on “Empathy for Bullies

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