Thursday, February 6, 2014

Effects of bullying

Bullying effects all involved.  The bullied.  The bully.  The bystanders.  Those effects don't go away once the moment of bullying is over.  They last, and usually effect people in different ways throughout their entire lives.

The most obvious person to be effected by bullying is the one being bullied.  

What happens to the bullied?

After years of research and studies done and stories shared, it has been easy for researchers to list the consequences of bullying to the victim.  There are psychological issues: anxiety, loneliness  low self-esteem, depression, and various psychosomatic symptoms.  Social confidence and abilities are also effected and victims tend to withdraw socially.  Academics are often strongly effected.  Performance is lowered, students often skip out of school or classes, and some will even argue with their parents to refuse to go to school.  There can be physical complaints of both illness and injury.  Some victims run away from home, begin using drugs and/or alcohol as an escape, or even commit suicide as a result.  Adults who look back on their days of being a victim of bullying are often also suffering from high rates of depression, social anxiety, pathological perfectionism, and greater neuroticism in adulthood.  Adults who viewed their experience as a mild version of bullying do tend to replace their feelings of unhappiness and anger with determination and enjoyment while those who viewed their experience as extreme show results in personality and attitude throughout their entire lives.  (keep in mind, we never know whether it is a mild case or extreme case, what it may turn into, and how the victim may view their experience).

The next person effected by bullying experiences is the one doing the bullying.  

How is the bully effected?

In the moment of the bullying act, the bully seems to come out on top. They are often cheered for and promoted when they commit an act of bullying.  However, the bully suffers negative consequences as well.  They, too, suffer psychological consequences, such as anger, depression, aggressiveness, hostility, domineering, and extremely hyperactive.  They often act-out and experience high-conflict within their friendships.  They often show little desire to achieve good things academically.  They can be linked to alcohol and/or drug use as well.  One specific study shows that 60% of those who bullied in grades 6th and/or 9th had at least one criminal conviction by age 24 and  35-40% had three or  more convictions, as compared to a group of non-bullying men.  Another specific study asked men if they were bullies at age 14, then 18, and then again at age 32.  The results showed that one in every five men who admitted to bullying at age 14 also admitted to being a bully at age 32, 18 years later.  61% of those who were still bullies at age 32 were highly aggressive and that 20% had been convicted of violence.

Think that's it?  Bystanders are affected too.  


Watching bullying can have different effects on different people.  Some may react similarly to the victim while others will be effected likewise to the perpetrator.  Some may become anxious about going back to that environment again.  They may experience sadness and sometimes depression.  They may hole-up and become extra shy and reserved as to not become a victim.  Their grades could either excel, since they are backing away socially, or could drop because their mind isn't focusing on academics.  They could also go the opposite way and become angry, aggressive, and start bullying themselves so they won't become the victim of another bully.  

Each and every person who experiences acts of bullying are effected.  The bullied.  The bully.  The bystander. No one is exempt from seeing results of these acts in their lives.

(click here to see the bibliography of many of these studies)

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