Association between self-perceived likeability and relational bullying
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Previous research has shown that bullies are usually popular, but not highly liked by their peers. The goal of this study was to investigate why low likeability does not deter bullies who engage in relational bullying. Our study focused specifically on one possible explanation: bullies overestimate their own likeability. The present cross-sectional study included 233 adolescents (44% boys; Mage = 13) who completed the questionnaire about relational bullying, peer-reported likeability, and self-perceived likeability. In order to test the hypothesis a regression analysis was conducted on the effect of actual likeability on self-perceived likeability moderated by relational bullying. The results show there is a significant positive association between actual likeability and self-perceived likeability. However, this association is not moderated by relational bullying behaviors. This implies that bullies do not differ from others in the accuracy of their perception of their own likeability: bullies do not seem to overestimate their self-perceived likeability.