Preadolescent children's perception of power imbalance in bullying: A thematic analysis
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© 2019 Nelson et al. Published in PLoS ONE.
Bullying in schools is associated with an extensive public health burden. Bullying is intentional and goal oriented aggressive behavior in which the perpetrator exploits an imbalance of power to repeatedly dominate the victim. To differentiate bullying from aggressive behavior, assessment must include a valid measure of power imbalance as perceived by the victim. And yet, to date, there remains no agreement as to how to most accurately measure power imbalance among preadolescent children. This qualitative study explored children's (age 9 to 11) understanding of power imbalance through thematic analysis of focus group discussions. Subthemes that emerged as influencing power imbalance include: Age of victim, peer valued characteristics, and group membership and position. Subthemes of empathy and peer valued characteristics emerged as protecting against the negative impact of power imbalance.
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