TWO groups of students have been identified as the most likely perpetrators of bullying in schools -- 'chavs' and 'D4s'.
Research carried out by Trinity College Dublin has discovered five prevalent subcultures among Irish schools and revealed that some were more likely to carry out the bullying.
According to the study, 'non-alternative' groups like 'chavs' and 'D4s' were more prone to act in an intimidating fashion than their 'alternative' peers, that is to say 'emos', 'moshers'" and 'goths'.
Chavs are defined in the study as a 'rough young person' who engages in 'anti-social behaviour', while D4s have a 'posh lifestyle'.
Over 800 secondary school students participated in the study on alterophobic bullying -- that is to say negative behaviour towards individuals based solely on their different appearance.
The study which is the first of its kind in Ireland, questioned 339 teenage boys and 481 teenage girls across nine schools.
It showed that 44.9pc, 80.7pc and 87.3pc of respondents believed that moshers/rockers, goths and emos respectively were more likely to be bullied.
All three groups were identified by their clothing style.
These alternative subcultures were all much more likely to be viewed as victims of bullying than chavs or D4s.
Nearly nine in ten teenagers interviewed believed that chavs were more likely to bully their peers, and just under half of the respondents thought D4s were prone to behave in this way.
Dr Stephen James Minton is a psychologist at the Anti-Bullying Centre of Trinity College Dublin said that this research suggested that the topic of alterophobic bullying should be included in any anti-bullying policies.
"I would argue that those who are members of 'alternative' sub-cultures could be considered 'at risk' of bullying, and that making specific reference to alterphobia in school anti-bullying policies may also prove to be a sensible course of action," Dr Minton said.