Previous work on peer victimization has focused primarily on academic outcomes and negative indicators of youth involved in bullying. Few studies have taken a strength-based approach to examine attributes associated with bullies and victims of bullying. As such, we examined developmental trajectories of moral, performance, and civic character components, and their links to bully status using data from 713 youth (63% female) who participated in Wave 3 (approximately Grade 7) through Wave 6 (approximately Grade 10) of the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development. Latent growth curve analyses indicated that moral character was stable across waves, whereas civic character increased slightly by Wave 6. Trajectories for performance character varied; some youth alternatively displayed positive versus negative growth. Youth who reported bullying behavior reported lower initial levels of moral, performance, and civic character as compared to youth not involved in bullying. Bully-victims reported lower initial levels of moral and civic character as compared to youth not involved in bullying. Implications for future work examining character-related components in the context of peer victimization are discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/rachel-hershberg/11/