A new study from researchers at the UC Davis and Penn State University found that the popular teens at school, except for the ones at the very top, are the most likely targets for bullying, not outcasts. “For most students, gains in status increase the likelihood of victimization and the severity of its consequences,” they wrote. Translated: Those just below the top have everything to gain and lose, and mean behavior is rewarded, so it becomes a vicious cycle. According to the researchers, “evidence suggests that aggressors' campaigns of harassment and abuse are rewarded with increased prestige… particularly when they target socially prominent rivals.” The study, published in the journal of the American Sociological Association, used data from more than 8,000 students in 19 North Carolina schools. Girls had higher rates of victimization.