WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) ---Experts in child and adolescent psychology say that an incident of bullying behavior in one's high school days is no indicator of how one may behave as an adult.
"The reality is that there are a lot of kids that bully. It's an incredibly prevalent issue. It's a group process. It's a painful process, but there is no real connection to a person that necessarily bullies and what and who they are as adults," said Dr. Louis Kraus, the Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
The issue arose on Thursday when the Washington Post carried a story with claims by five of Mitt Romney's high school classmates that he held down a fellow student and cut off some of his hair as the student cried and yelled for help. That student was suspected of being gay, and as an adult declared that he was.
Romney says he has no memory of the incident which his classmates say involved several attackers.
"A group process can be an incredibly powerful process and one needs to understand that what one might do in that group process, they might not do as an individual. For example, often the kids, especially young and middle aged teenagers, when they are bullying, they often don't appreciate how they are impacting another child.
"Most often most of these bullies, when they do realize the impact, when they get punished, you will more often than not see a change to their behavior and who they are in the future," Kraus told 9News Now.
Kraus says it is not surprising that, after decades, someone involved in bullying might not remember the incident.
Romney told a cable tv network that he remembered the victim but never thought about whether he was gay. He apologized.