The relation between bullying and helping, and same-gender and cross-gender peer acceptance and peer rejection was examined in a sample of preadolescents of 11 and 12 years (N = 1065). We tested predictions from a gender-homophily approach versus predictions from a goal-framing approach in which acceptance and rejection are seen as being generated by approach and avoidance goals, respectively. For preadolescents, both approaches predict a central role for gender, but the gender-homophily approach predicts symmetrical effects for acceptance and rejection, whereas the goal-framing approach predicts strong asymmetries. The data supported the goal-framing approach. Most importantly, acceptance is specifically gendered whereas rejection is less; acceptance is much more frequent than rejection; there is a cross-gender ignorance effect i.e., in terms of acceptance, boys ignore helping in girls, and girls ignore bullying in boys.
For this study, information on who bullies who and by whom are you bullied? was collected from 54 school classes with 918 children (M age =11) and 13,606 dyadic relations. Bullying and victimization were viewed separately from the point of view of the bully and the victim. The two perspectives were highly complementary. The probability of a bully-victim relationship was higher if the bully was more dominant than the victim, and if the victim was more vulnerable than the bully and more rejected by the class. In a bully-victim dyad, boys were more often the bullies. There was no finding of sex effect for victimization. Liking reduced and disliking increased the probability of a bully-victim relationship.