Subtypes of victimization in school: Are passive victims, provocative victims and bully-victims distinct groups?
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Background: While most research on victimization distinguishes between two subtypes of victims, there is initial evidence for the existence of three subtypes, differing on aggression, resource control strategies and social dominance. The purpose of this study was to further explore differences between those three subtypes: passive victims, provocative victims, and bully-victims. Method: data were collected from 1230 Dutch fourth through sixth grade elementary school children (ages 8 to 14 years), using peer nominations as well as self- and teacher reports. Results: Multivariate analyses of variance showed that victim subtypes did differ from each other and from the control group. Passive victims used little resource control strategies, including aggression and had low social dominance status. Provocative victims were especially reactively aggressive, had higher social dominance than passive victims, but lower than bully-victims. Bully-victims were found to use coercive strategies the most and have the highest resource control, compared to the other subtypes and the control group. Furthermore similarities were found between bullies and bully-victims on reactive aggression, self-reported resource control, prosocial and coercive strategies, and depression. Conclusion: results confirm the distinctiveness of three subgroups of victims. These differences stress the need to use different intervention strategies for different subtypes of victims.