Bullying is known to be associated with social status, but it remains unclear how bullying involvement over time relates to social position (status and affection), especially in the first years at a new school. The aim of this study was to investigate whether (the development of) bullying and victimization was related to the attainment of status (perceived popularity) and affection (friendships, acceptance, rejection) in the first years of secondary education (six waves). Using longitudinal data spanning the first- and second year of secondary education of 824 adolescents (51.5% girls; Mage T1 = 12.54, SD = 0.45) in the SNARE-study, joint bullying and victimization trajectories were estimated using parallel Latent Class Growth Analysis (LCGA). The four trajectories (decreasing bully, stable high bully, decreasing victim, uninvolved) were related to adolescents' social position using multigroup analysis that examined differences in slope and intercepts (T1 and T6) of social positions, and indicated that the relative social position of the different joint trajectories was determined at the start of secondary education and did not change over time, with one exception: adolescents continuing bullying were besides being popular also increasingly rejected over time. Although bullying is functional behavior that serves to optimize adolescents' social position, anti-bullying interventions may account for the increasing lack of affection that may hinder bullies' long-term social development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1995-2006
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number10
Early online date19 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Adolescence
  • Bullying and victimization trajectories
  • Secondary education
  • Social position


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