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Local and national issue

School bullying has world-widely gained attention of parents, students, school authorities, media, and even scholars in the aspects of mental and physical health (Moon et. al. , 2008; Seo, 2004). A number of researches have indicated that school bullying is a social problem beyond the local and national issue (Moon, 2008). According to empirical studies in Australia (Rigby, 1991), Austria (Klicpera, 1996), England (Whitney, 1993), Finland (Kumpulainen, 1998), Germany (Wolke, 2001), Norway (Olweus, 1978), and United States (Nansel, 2001), 15% to 25 % of students are bullying or victims of being bullied.

Overall, research has examined a large number of countries which support that school bullying spreads regardless of geographical or cultural boundaries (White, 2008). Primarily, school bullying within the school experience has a negative effect on the perception of safety (Batsche 1994; Borg 1998; White 2008). The causes of bullying behavior are mostly from internal factors such as insufficient sociality, low confidence, and low self-esteem rather than external factors such as different colored hair, obesity, and different intonation (Kreidler, 1996).

Many students have been reported to be possessed by inferiority complex, loneness, depression, and hostility against society by their peers (Kim& Lee, 2001). Moreover, Olweus (1993) asserts that bullied experience, in many cases, lead to mental depression and thought or commitment ofsuicide not only from adolescents but to adults as well. According to Butsche and Lenoff (1994) and White and Loeber (2008), students’ fear of victimization compels them to miss classes, and it can also lead to chronic unexcused absence.

In addition, the report conducted by US Secret Service and National Education Association (2001) shows that youth participants in school shootings in 1990s had often times been bullied. Research about bullies has been conducted for decades, and surprisingly, the results are not the same all of the time. Kreidler (1996) mentioned that bullies gathered the high scores in self-esteem questionnaires, and they regarded themselves as positive people as a result of this research.

On the other hand, bullies are more likely to try to show their superiority by bulling other students because of low self-esteem. In a psychological review, regardless of self-esteem, students who have a sense of inferiority may bully students from rich families (Seo, 2004). However, many studies show that bullies are more likely to become criminals or commit crimes (Batsche and Knoff 1994; Olweus, 1993). In the current study, we attempt to explain the bullying behavior with low self control theory as the framework.

For seventeen years, this theory has been in the middle of debate in the criminology field however, many empirical studies have supported through explaining the cause of adolescent deviant behavior and adulthood criminal activities (Lee, 2005; Higgins, 2005; Blickle et al. , 2006). For example, Min in the empirical study of prisoners’ recidivism and main correlates (2007) collected the data from 359 prisoners located in Daegu, Anyang, Gwangju, Masan, Chungju prison, South Korea as samples.

In his study, the social strain theory, the differential association theory, and the low self control theory as frameworks suggest three different types of hypotheses; first, according to the social strain theory, lower socioeconomic prisoners are more likely to relapse into crime. The second hypothesis supports the differential association theory in that prisoners who have closer inmates and spend more time in the same prison tend to recidivate. Finally, prisoners in the low self control are more apt to indicate high recidivism rate.

As a result, only the third hypothesis of the low self control theory is supported by this empirical study (Min, 2007). Generally, self control is defined as a tendency to avoid criminal activities regardless of a person’s circumstances (Min, 2007). In addition studies have indicated that Low Self-control is predictable of crime and similar behaviors (Gollfredson& Hirschi, 1990). They also indicate that those with low self control act on impulse and lack the ability to delay gratification which comes from similar activities such as smoking, drinking, and promiscuity (Gollfredson& Hirschi, 1990).

Low self control is found to commence in childhood, and that is when the conduct problem begin. It is noted that weak control by parents results in weak self control in their offspring. Parents who are close to their children are more apt to monitor, recognize and punish bad behavior. In this respect, the children are most likely going to develop the self control necessary to resist the easy gratification that comes from bad behavior. These children will most likely have success in social settings such as school and work related setting (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990).

Overall, through this empirical study, we can hypothesize that low parenting practice is the cause of children’s low self control (Moon 2008). Furthermore, low self control is a significant predictor of negative life outcomes, which include poor social bonds, lifestyles, and low socioeconomic attainment (Evance et. al. , 1997). Hirschie suggests that laws would continue to fail their purpose as a deterrence or rehabilitation method. People with low self control are risk takers. Their actions and they are willing to try more deviant behavior even when it is potentially damaging.

Consequently low self control people are focused on themselves rather than others which makes them more incentive to other people. The bullying studies have been conducted since early 1970’s (Lee,2000). However, only few empirical studies of this topic with criminological approaches have been attempted (Moon, 2008). In a present day study, we will focus on this limitation by analyzing longitudinally collected data on a panel of middle school students dominated by Hispanics in San Antonio.

We will attempt to use the Low self-control theory as a framework in order to interpret the underlying cause of bullying. Bullying in schools is a cause of concern to parents, teachers and schools globally and does not restrict itself to any geographical boundaries (Moon et al. , 2008). Research confirms that children who are likely to be bullies in their childhood are “more likely to engage in antisocial and criminal behaviors in their adolescence and adulthood” (Farrington, 1991; Moon et al.

, 2008). In spite of a convincing negative relationship between bullying and criminal behaviors in later life, not much attention is given by school authorities, which is apparent by the high rates of denial and under-reporting of instances of bullying (S. G. Lee, 2005). Considering the positive relation between bullying and criminal activities among individuals, the theory of ‘Low Self-Control’ is used to explain the occurrence of bulling tendencies in children (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990).

Gottfredson & Hirschi (1990) studied that low self esteem is likely to be the cause of instantly gratifying behaviors, insensitivity to others and limitations in cognitive and academic skills which are some of the causes of negative behaviors and criminal activities among individuals. The researchers also state that self control is developed in children through appropriate parenting activities such as monitoring the activities of children and punishments of unsatisfactory behaviors and a lack of these attributes leads to impulsiveness and lack of empathy for others, which is consistent with low self control.

Research confirms the correlation between crime and delinquency and poor self control which is also as a trait which is associated with criminal behavior (Unnever and Cornell, 2003). Individuals with low self control are hypothesized to have qualities of impulsiveness, self centeredness, short temperedness and risk taking all of which are self serving, reckless behaviors with a positive correlation to criminal activities (Pratt & Cullen, 2000). Research conducted by Haynie et al (2001) also affirms that bullies in middle school scored low on the self control scale as compared to other students and victims.

In their study, Unnever and Cornell (2003) found that student with low self control were more likely to bully other students of their class thus implying that there is a positive relationship between low self control and bullying among middle school students. A cause of concern in the findings were the results of the target of bullying or the victims of bullying who displayed “poor social skills or a lack of supportive peers” and hence were more likely to be bullied by their classmates (Unnever and Cornell, 2003).

Another discrepancy in the research findings was the positive correlation between self control and victimization among boys but negative correlation between self control and victimization (Unnever and Cornell, 2003) necessitating “more study”. Similarly, studies conducted by Moon et al. (2005) also do not satisfactorily confirm a substantial impact of low self control on bullying. The theory does not provide significant results to prove that bullying can be associated with children with low self control.

Thus, in accordance with the main purpose of the study, it can be affirmed that although the qualities depicting low self control which have been numerously studied in past researches, the exact relationship of low self control with bullying activities needs to be studied more clearly to be proved. It can however be affirmed that low self control behaviors such as lack of empathy for others, insensitivity to pain and impulsive behaviors, all of which are mental attributes are predictors of low self control among children. Thus, physical attributes including race, color, and religion do not have a considerable impact on bullying.

References Farrington, D. P. (1991) ‘Childhood aggression and adult violence: early precursors and later life outcomes’, in D. J. Pepler and K. H. Rubin (eds. ) The developmentand treatment of childhood aggression, pp. 5-29. Hillsdale, N. J. : Erlbaum Gottfredson, Michael R. , and Travis Hirschi. 1990. A General Theory of Crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Haynie, D. L. , Nansel, T. R. , Eitel, P. , Crump, A. D. , Saylor, K. , Yu K. et al. (2001). Bullies, victims, and bully/victims: Distinct groups of at-risk youth. Journal of Early Adolescence, 21, 29-49. Moon et al. , (2008).

Causes of School Bullying. Empirical Test of a General Theory of Crime, Differential association Theory, and General Strain Theory. Crime Delinquency Online First. Pratt, T. C. , & Cullen, F. T. (2000). The empirical status of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general theory of crime: A meta-analysis. Criminology, 38, 931-964. Lee, S. G. (2005). Effects of eco-systemic factors on peer violence at middle schools. Journal of the Korean Society of Child Welfare, 19, 141-170. Unnever, J. D. , & Cornell, D. G. (2003). Bullying, self-control, and ADHD. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18, 129-147.

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