Effects of Bullying

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Bullying is a worldwide societal problem that has been studied for over three decades. It has the power to push people to go to extremes (Olweus). An individual is labeled as a victim or a bully whether he or she is repeatedly and for a long period of time subjected to derogatory actions by one or more other individuals. Negative actions, in this context, are deliberate efforts to inflict pain, damage, or inconvenience to others. Bad acts could include, for example, verbal insults, physical touch, and deliberate omission, as well as speculation. Actions qualify as being intentions of bullying, an asymmetrical power association between the victim and the bully should be existent in a manner as the victim of bullying has challenges in defending him/herself against the perpetrator. Based on the seminal works done by Olweus (1997), there two types of victims, that is, provocative and passive victim types. In this context, a provocative victim has issues with concentration, is usually hyperactive, and causes tension and irritation. On the other hand, a typical passive victim is often sensitive, cautious and quiet; and his/her reaction is crying. As described by Olweus (1997), bullies show aggression towards peers, teachers and even parents. They are more susceptible towards using violence, are increasingly impulsive with a strong need of dominating others. Besides, they are overly physically stronger than their peers. The present paper examines the bullying and its effects on victims.

Psychological elucidations of bullying as affecting future consequences attempt to disentangle between the impacts of being a perpetrator of bullying and being a victim. Victimization is strongly correlated with violence and harassment (Patchin and Hinduja), effects that are often known to have unfortunate long-run consequences despite the inherent difficulty in establishing the causal associations (Currie and Tekin). The negative long-term impacts could be interpreted using the model of general strain theory. The argument by general strain theory is that individuals experiencing as strain, in this regard bullying, are increasingly predisposed to produce negative emotions like frustration, anger, anxiety or depression whereby a corrective action may result with regards to suicide, self-harm and wrongdoing (Agnew). In agreement to this, Ouellet-Morin et al. (2011) demonstrated that children who are victims of bullying had a lower and prolonged cortisol response towards stress than a control group; hence, it provides an explicit example of study suggestive of bullying as invoking biological variations in victims with the capacity of long-term consequences. Ideally, it is less palpable that being a perpetrator of bullying could be linked to unfavorable future outcomes. Nonetheless, two psychological theories constitute a model of thought with respect to this association. The general strain theory aforementioned indicates that engagement in bullying could be a strategy to cope, besides other deviant behaviors, with a strain (Patchin and Hinduja). As such, being a bully might not essentially have a consequence on the future outcomes in the event of sufficient accounting for strains.

Alternative bullying theory constitutes the developmental-psychological perspective about antisocial behavior. Based on this theory, the manifestation of antisocial behavior happens in early childhood and the behavior of a child at one phase results in predictable environmental reactions in the subsequent phase (Patterson, Reid and Dishion). In this context, poor parental discipline results in child conduct issues leading to peer rejection and failure in academics; and in response attracting the individual deviant peer groups. As such, a child is bound to be withheld in a negative behavioral spiral in the event antisocial behavior is unmet with appropriate adult reaction in the early stages of life. In juxtaposition to psychological studies focusing on strains and problematic home environments as elucidations of bullying, sociological works permit a primarily different interpretations. As interpreted on the social network realm, bullying is an aggression type related to attainment and maintenance of the status of the peer group as compared to an estranged reaction for the socially peripheral individual (Faris and Felmlee).On this, the argument by Faris and Felmlee (2011) is that individuals who are at the very bottom of the social ladder lack the capacity of bullying while those at the peak of the pyramid lack the reason to bully. In this regard, therefore, if the aim of bullying is achievement of higher social status, then outcomes could be impacted negatively or positively dependent on the prescribe behavior throughout the social hierarchy (Akerlof and Kranton).

Contextually, dealing with bullying victimization in the early stages of life dictates resources away from investing in other skills. In contrast, engagement in bullying and other antisocial activities points resources to counter-productive investments on skill. Besides, to the point where bullying applies a direct negative effect on self-esteem and extra non-cognitive skills, as aforementioned, affects success of both the educational and labor market.

Predictors of Bullying

In the previous years, studies have endeavored to investigate the relationship between bullying and educational achievement. For instance, Brown and Taylor (2007) found that being a boy with disabilities, personality characteristics and a physically unattractive appearance are strong predictors of being bullied at 11 years of age. These traits coupled with financial issues in the family and fighting at age 7 are linked to being a bully as well. As identified by Henningsen (2009), low family income and feeling unsafe with parents are the two determinants of victimization. Nevertheless, parental divorce and education as well as increasingly rare causes like accidents, serious family illness, foster care and sexual assault as well as drug misuse correlates with victimization. In agreement and as confirmed by Wolke et al. (2001), low socio-economic status shows a relationship with both bullying and victimization; and also ethnic background and skin color correlates with victimization.

Effects of bullying on a victim

Social Withdrawal

The bullying experience causes a person to shy away from the social contact as well as their peers since lack confidence in themselves to cope with the relationships and completely lose trust in others with the mentality that they will not be accepted the way they are. The victim has a tendency of becoming emotionally withdrawn since they are always quiet and self- contained. When these victims are regularly exposed to frustrations, hurt as well as social isolation it affects them in a way that they feel they exist I their own world. Various adverse effects are associated when one becomes withdrawn. He or she can develop serious emotional problems that lead to suicide. Those victims who are bullied and show early signs of withdrawal should be counseled promptly to facilitate fast healing of the emotional damage. Individuals who experience social exclusion will most of the times try to look at themselves while they try to find out the reason behind the happening. Ideally, they proceed relentlessly beating themselves up as they wallow in self-blame. Most of these victims do not disclose to adults concerning their encounters. They undergo the torture in silence and confusion thinking about the things that are wrong concerning them. Most of the times, the act of bullying may not necessarily repeat itself but the victims just feel traumatized and develop a feeling that they are looked down upon by the people around them (Barrington).

Loss of confidence

Individuals that lack self -confidence are prone to become targets of bullying. Research shows that the victims who lack confidence in their speech while interacting with others are likely to become the victims associated with bullying. There are negative consequences associated with victimized bullying on self-esteem due to their extreme wants to associate with others and to be accepted. One becomes happy when the peers accept him or her. Despite that, acceptance by the peers results to positive self-concept and academic breakthrough. Bullying affects ones belief in them as they render themselves as worthless because of bullying. Bully victims have actually experienced worst encounters. According to research, students who are both bullies and victims have a low self-confidence compared to the other students that are only victims. Seemingly, adults at their early twenties experience depression and low self -esteem due to their experiences of being bullied in childhood.

Poor performance

Victims that are bullied often show poor performance in school. In school, children can be cruel to the extent of calling others names while playing or on the bus ride home. This makes the victim drown in tears and thus resulting to poor academic results. Most parents do not have the idea that adverse effects not only affect the child’s confidence but in turn leads to low academic achievement. Bullying and poor academic performance are linked. Ideally, bullied students get poor grades since they do not participate during class sessions (Barrington). Consequently, these types of students are regarded as low achievers since they do not want to let out in the fear of being bullied. Students that are mislabeled as dumb generally perform poorly. Besides, these students show no academic progress because of the fear of participation in class activities. Consequently, teachers assume these kind of students are low achievers as well as unmotivated learners. The teachers may withdraw concentration from them since they show no efforts of improvement, thus the overall performance of the school is affected.

Anxiety and Depression

Basing on research there exist a strong link between bullying and depression. Regarding that, depression is an illness that is still not yet understood and its effects are more on individuals who are bullied at a young age as it proceeds to adulthood. In addition to that, depression has unhealthy effects on the victim. It my result to other problems like anxiety, physical illnesses, increased rates of absenter in school and low self- confidence. Depression is the great cause of suicides among the youths. Although bullying is regarded as a through way ticket to suicide, depression is the one that triggers it. Parents and guardians should be on the overlook to find out the cases of depression in children and teens. A victim of depression is always restless, anxious and worried. Despite that, the individual results in a state of hopelessness and worthless. In addition to that, they lose concentration and change their eating and sleeping habits. Despite that, they are associated with outbursts of anger while they are crying. They lose interest in the activities they love ad seclude themselves from others. You can find out whether one wants to commit suicide by watching their behavior of giving out their property and telling people goodbye. Individuals suffering from depression have to look for help from a counselor or doctors to assist them think straight. Those victims who plan to commit suicide need help and support from family and friends to prevent him or her from feeling lonely and deserted. Such a victim should be shown love and compassion to assist them get back on track.

Poor Health and Well-being

The act of bullying affects ones physical as well as emotional health. It occurs in a short term or later in life. It leads to serious adverse effects like physical injuries, social problems, emotional issues or death. Bullied victims are at a high risk of exposure mental problems like headaches and poor adjustments in school (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Despite that, it further causes a long-term damage to one’s self esteem. Most researches regard bullying as a form of toxic stress since it has an impact on the physiological reactions on the victims. This is a reason why most victims develop serious health problems. The mental and physical health problems associated with young children may extend to adulthood with health problems. An inflammatory response that is measured by the release of C-reactive protein in the protein is one such mechanism. When the levels of CRP rise, it is an indication of the body fighting infectious agents, reaction to a certain injury or response to a chronic like arthritis (The Conversation Africa Inc). According to the research, the level of CRP elevates in individuals who have encountered maltreatment during their childhood. Thus, the body reacts identically to the toxic stress as the way it reacts towards an infection. Victims who are bullied are prone to exposure to serious illnesses like asthma and diabetes. In addition to that, they encounter psychiatric disorders like depression and end up being addicted smokers in future. Despite that, they record poor health states that take time to recover.


The present research paper examines bullying and its impacts on victims. Described as antagonistic behavior often characterized by insistent and imbalance in power, bullying is a global concern with both short term and long-run consequences on its victims. In essence, the deviant behavior is has detrimental effects to those involved; and even those not involved, with the capacity to dramatically impact the ability of its victims to progress both socially and academically. As such, it should not be allowed anywhere in any educational systems. As a remedy to this global problem, a comprehensively thought-out intervention plan involving students, parents and the teachers, inclusive of all school staff, is required to make sure all the students have a safe and fear free learning environment.

Works Cited

Agnew, R. "Foundation for a General Strain Theory of Crime and Delinquency." Criminology (1992): 30, 47-88. pdf.

Akerlof, G. A. and R. E. Kranton. "Identity and Schooling: Some Lessons for the Economics of Education." Journal of Economic Perspecitives (2002): 40: 1167-1201 .

Barrington, Kate. How Does Bullying Affect a Student’s Academic Performance? 17 May 2016. 10 December 2017. .

Brown, S. and K. Taylor. "Bullying, education and earnings: Evidence from the National Child Development Study." Economics of Education Review (2007): 27, 387-401. Online.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Understanding bullying. 2015. 10 December 2017. < http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullying_factsheet.pdf>.

Currie, J. and E. Tekin. "Understanding the Cycle: Childhood Maltreatment and Future Crime." Journal of Human Resources (2012): 47, 509-550. Pdf.

Faris, R. and D. Felmlee. "Status Struggles: Network Centrality and Gender Segregation in Same- and Cross-Gender Agression." American Sociological Review (2011): 76: 48-73. Online.

Henningsen, I. Sammenhænge mellem mobning, barndomserfaringer og senere livskvalitet. In Kofoed, J. and D.-M. Søndergaard (eds.) . Hans Reitzel: Mobning – sociale processer påafveje, 2009. Online.

Ouellet-Morin, et al. " Blunted cortisol responses to stress signal social and behavioral problems among maltreated/bullied 12-year-old children." Biological Psychiatry (2011): 70, 1016-1023. Online.

Olweus, D. Aggression in the schools: Bullies and whipping boys. Oxford, England: Hemisphere, 1978. Print.

—. "Bully/victim Problems in School: Facts and Interventions." European Journal of Psychology of Education (1997): 12, 495-510. Pdf.

Patchin, J. W. and S. Hinduja. "Traditional and Nontraditional Bullying Among Youth: A Test of General Strain Theory." Youth and Society (2011): 43,727-751 . pdf.

Patterson, G., J. Reid and T. Dishion. Antisocial Boys. . Eugene, OR: Castalia, 1992. Print.

The Conversation Africa Inc. School bullying leads to poorer physical health in adults. 19 August 2013. 10 December 2017. .

Wolke, D. S., K. S. Woods and H. Schulz. "Bullying and Victimization of Primary School Children in England and Germany: Prevalence and School Factors." British Journal of Psychology (2001): 92: 673-696. Pdf.

December 15, 2022

Social Issues Health


Experience Mental Health

Subject area:

Bullying Problems Suicide

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Expertise Suicide
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