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Running head: PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF BULLYING IN ADOLESCENCE 1

Psychological Effects of Bullying in Adolescence


Brian S. La Chapelle
Lynn University

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF BULLYING IN ADOLESCENCE

Abstract
Bullying is a serious issue that a lot of adolescence experience during Middle and
High School. Bullying can leave an adolescence to live in fear. There are many types of
bullies as well as different types of victims, but both of them have some common
effects. It can cause lifelong psychological effects; in the end it might require therapy so
that the victim can overcome it. In many cases the individual being bullied is put down
so bad that the victim will decide to take their own life so that they can escape the
bullying they face. Now a days with technology bullying happens not only in person but
the victim can be harassed from miles away. With so many ways bullies are able to do
this it is becoming harder to control it and protect victims. With this paper I will look at
bullying from a psychology point of view. Covering an introduction, history and antibullying movement, characteristic of bullying, and also the effects bullying has in the
victim and also in the bully himself.

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF BULLYING IN ADOLESCENCE

Introduction
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among individuals that involves a real
or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be
repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading
rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group
on purpose (What is Bullying, 2014). Bullying is either done one-on-one or it may be
more complex in which the bully has others help him or her bully one individual. You can
distinguish bullying from a conflict by a couple of ways they are; intentions to cause
harm, when there is imbalanced power between them (bully and victim), repetitive
incidents of physical, verbal, and psychosocial abuse.
There are many deferent types of bullying now a day. Males mainly do physical
bullying this can be hitting, tripping (causing physical damage on the victim). Females
mainly do verbal bullying; it includes insults, homophobic or racists remarks, etc. Social
and emotional bullying is behavioral actions done to cause harm towards the victims
reputation or to cause them humiliation and example of this would be starting a rumor.
The fourth type of bullying has become very common in todays society, cyber bullying,
its when the bully humiliates through social medias or by instant messaging.
Being a victim of bullying can cause many problems and long-term effects. They
can experience negative mental health, physical, and school issues (decrease in
academic achievement). When being the victim of bullying you are more likely to
experience depression and anxiety, increased feelings of loneliness and sadness, you
may also have changes in eating and sleeping patterns, they would no longer enjoy
doing activities they use to like. All of these effects may persist into adulthood.

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF BULLYING IN ADOLESCENCE

Anti-Bullying Movement
It is only in recent years that society has recognized bullying. The first cultural
movement against bullying was done in Canada in 2000 by Bill Belsey. Belsey was a
Canadian educator and anti-bullying activist. His movement was named National
Bullying Prevention Week. It was not until 2006 that the United States declared a
National Bullying Prevention Month.
Characteristics of Bullying
Bullying consists of four types: Emotional, verbal, Physical, and Cyber. It involves
methods of coercion; these may be threats and/or intimidations. According to the U.S.
National Center for Education Statistics (2007), approximately 32% of U.S. school
children reported being bullied at school; nearly 4% reported being cyber-bullied. The
Center suggests (2001) that bullying can be classified into two categories:

Direct Bullying
Indirect Bullying

Direct bullying involves a lot of physical aggression, this means shoving, throwing
things, slapping, punching and kicking, etc. Indirect bullying is the opposite; they try to
socially isolate the target. They manage to do this with a variety of techniques. These
techniques are not socializing with the victim, spreading gossip, bullying others that talk
to that target. Basically in direct bullying is every type of bullying that does not involve
physical contact.

Who is the Victim and what Effects does it have on them

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF BULLYING IN ADOLESCENCE

Victim of bullying
Anyone can become the victim of bullying, but there are some commonalties as
to who these victims are. Bullies often choose a certain type of person to abuse. Most
people who experience bullying do not have a big circle of friends, are easily bothered,
are subjected to teasing and rumors, and are bullied because of their achievements.
When bullied, they become visibly frightened, cry, or do not have an appropriate
response. That is just what the child who bullies wants; it becomes an invitation to even
more bullying (NBPC, 2011).
The bully always looks for someone who is different from the rest. This
difference can be almost anything, from the way they talk or dress to how socially
awkward they are. They look for someone who will not stand up for themselves since
they already have low self-esteem.
Effects on the Victim
Bullying can have lifelong effects on them. Being a victim will lower your selfesteem, this is even worse when the victim already had a negative image on himself or
herself. In many cases these victims have to go through years of therapy or counseling
to get over the effects it had on them. Bullying can cause panic attacks, anxiety, and/or
depression. It also effects how adolescence do in their academic achievements, many
of them will stop wanting to go to school as a way of avoiding the bully. It had also been
proven that many would drop out, or not continue their studies into universities or
college since they believe it will be the same way as it was in their high school. In the
worst-case scenario the victim of bullying will think that the only option they have is to
commit suicide, to take their own life away, in order to avoid the cruelty they have to life

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF BULLYING IN ADOLESCENCE

with on a daily basis. There is often no end to bullying for victims. Devastating effects
of bullying is the pattern it creates in victims minds and personalities that can last their
whole life.(Abel, 2010). If the victim of bullying does not overcome the effects it had on
them they are more likely to grow up being victims of abuse and continue to be bullied
in more advanced studies (University or College) or at their work place.
Effects bullying has on the Bully
Bullies can suffer long-term effects of bullying if their behavior is not addressed.
Compelling research confirms that bullies are twice as likely as their peers to have
criminal convictions and four times more likely to be multiple offenders (Abel, 2010).
Bullies may sometimes hate the way they are, they things they do to their victims. Since
bullies are usually victims of some type of abuse from his or her parent, older peers, etc.
they find it okay and they use that as a justification on their actions. The bully often
becomes stressed because the feel conflicted about their behavior. This makes them
want to bully more, as a stress reliever. If they are not stopped while adolescence they
usually grow up as bullies and continue these abusive actions.

Reflection
After doing this research paper I learned a lot more about bullying. I learned
more than the basic teachings I receive in middle and high school. While writing this
paper it reminded me of when I had to move from Florida back to Venezuela at the age
of 12. While living in Florida I had never experienced bullying, not because I was a bully
but just because I did not let them bother me the couple of times they tried. When I
moved to Venezuela I went to a new school, it was a huge impact on me; it was an all
guys school and catholic. I was starting 7 th grade there, I did not have any friends there.

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF BULLYING IN ADOLESCENCE

I disliked living in Venezuela. The reason I pointed out that it was an all guy school was
because back in Florida it was a mixed school; I surrounded myself with girls more than
guys. The reason I did this was because of my sexuality, I knew I was gay but I had not
told anyone yet. I felt awkward being with guys the whole day, I was the new kid, and I
did not know how to act for them to not judge me. It was little things pilling up on each
other, new school, sexual orientation, and different culture than the one I grew up in (the
US), no friends, the list goes own. In end of 7 th grade I was somewhat antisocial I had
two friends and they where mainly used for group projects. Another event I remember
was latter on in the same school. After 7 th and 8th grade I was being accepted more, I
was no longer bullied. Over those two years I was friends with a classmate that was still
a victim of bullying. As I read on articles people tend to stay away from victims so that
they are not bullied as well or treat the person who helps out the victim differently. I saw
this happened, the times I told people to back off from bullying my friend I would be
treated differently. They did this because I was the only one who was his friend.
I learned a lot of the effects bullying has in adolescences developments. One of
the ones that shocked me was how the bully also suffers from being a bullied. It is not
as bad as the victim but it is something I never considered to be possible. I would of
have never guess that bullies get stressed out about their actions, or that they grow up
being the same person. I think I believed this because when I think of bullying I link it to
adolescences in school, but now I know that it can continue into the victims and the
bullies adulthood. Another thing that was new to my knowledge was that it wasnt until
14 years ago that people started to consider bullying as a big deal. I did know that
bullies have existed for years but I was not aware of the fact that it wasnt until 2000 that

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF BULLYING IN ADOLESCENCE

people took it this serious. I am glad they did, by doing so society has been aware of the
negative effects it has on the victims, I also found out how schools now a days have
programs to teach their students about bullying. This is a great step towards stopping
bullying worldwide.
In the future when it comes to having patients that are either bullies or victims
from a bully I will know how to help them. After doing some research I found many tips
and ways to support the victim as well as the bully. I found out that bullying is often a
learned behavior, and I adolescence the behavior they learn is mainly at home and
some of it by their peers. I could have a great therapy with the bully and his family for
example. As to the victim of the bullying I would help him or her overcome the feelings
of helplessness, make him or her manage the anger he has towards the bully in another
way, a positive way.

Conclusion

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF BULLYING IN ADOLESCENCE

Bullying is a very serious issue. It harms the victim as well as the bully, both in negative
ways. I am glad that in these last years as a society we have tried to put an end to it, it
might be hard but it is the best things to do. This type of behavior must be put to an end;
it has been proven to have lasting psychological effects on victims and the bully.
Prevention of bullying is now more possible than before especially because of all the
education and understanding we have of it in middle and high schools. Working on with
paper helped me understand bullying and the effects more, especially since I want to
work with kids and adolescence when I become a professional.

Works Cited

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Abel, C. (2010). What are the effects of bullying on the bully? [Online Forum
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"What Is Bullying." Stop Bullying. Stopbullying.Gov, 8 Jan. 2014. Web.
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School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey:
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NBPC, (2011). Why are kids targeted by bullying?. Retrieved from
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"Student Reports of Bullying and Cyber-Bullying: Results From the 2007
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Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey - NCES 2011
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Retrieved 2013-10-29.