Bullying is more common than it is thought to be. Around 28 percent of students aged between 12 and 18 are being bullied at school every year, according to a US report.
In fact, a Tennessee boy named Keaton Jones recently took the internet by storm with his emotional outpour revealing his experience being bullied. Even the controversial TV series 13 Reasons Why was also based on the same theme.
Bullying has become so common that researchers recently studied the behaviour of teenagers to understand the reason behind it. The researchers believe the act of bullying is possibly a way of showing strength and dominance, and to impress the opposite sex.
According to a study led by Daniel Provenzano of the University of Windsor in Canada, adolescents willing to exploit others for personal gain are more likely to bully and have sex than those who are honest and humble.
Provenzano and his colleagues recruited two sets of participants: 144 older adolescents (with a mean age of 18.3) and 396 younger adolescents (with a mean age of 14.6), Science Daily reported.
The participants were asked to fill in questionnaires about their sex life, number of sexual partners, as well as the frequency of bullying perpetration.
They were given another questionnaire, where the researchers learnt about six different aspects of the participants' personality that include their willingness to cooperate or exploit others.
Their ability to exploit others was measured by analysing how emotionally in tune, humble and honest they are.
Results showed the younger people who lack honesty and humility are more likely to use bullying to woo their sexual partners.
Provenzano said: "Our findings indirectly suggest that exploitative adolescents may have more sexual partners if they are able to strategically use exploitative behaviour like bullying to target weaker individuals."
Provenzano added that adolescents scoring lower in "Honesty-Humility" may also use bullying as a strategy to display traits like strength and dominance to attract the opposite sex.
The findings were published in Springer's journal Evolutionary Psychological Science.