“Every October, schools, and organizations across the country join STOMP Out Bullying™ in observing National Bullying Prevention Month. The goal: encourage schools, communities, and organizations to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying and put an end to hatred and racism by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of all forms of bullying on all children of all ages”.
According to the American Psychological Association, bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another individual injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, verbal attacks, or more subtle actions, and often, both the bully and the victim are at an increased risk of mental health consequences. Cyberbullying, workplace bullying, schoolyard bullying, and bullying within intimate relationships are all forms of bullying that occur among children, adolescents, and adults.
Taking a look at the statistics associated with bullying
- More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied
- 33% of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year
- Of those students who reported being bullied, 13% were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 12% were the subject of rumors; 5% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5% were excluded from activities on purpose
- Students who are bullied are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches
- Among high school students, 15.5% are cyberbullied, and 20.2% are bullied on school property
- The percentages of individuals who have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lifetimes have nearly doubled (18% to 34%) from 2007-2016
- Over 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year.
- Approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying.
- 71% of students report incidents of being bullied as a problem at their school.
- 1 in 10 students drop out of school because of repeated bullying.
- Physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school, and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant.
- Nearly a third of adults (29%) have been bullied in the workplace.
- The highest prevalence of workplace bullying is among 40 to 59-year-olds, where 34% of people are affected
- Nearly three-quarters (72%) of the cases of workplace bullying are carried out by a manager.
- More than one in three (36%) individuals who report workplace bullying leave their job because of it.
- Looking at the effects of workplace bullying, nearly half (46%) of people say that it has an adverse impact on their performance at work, and the same proportion believes it has a negative effect on their mental health.
After male bullies leave school, they may turn to bully their girlfriends and spouses instead of fellow classmates
A study published in the October 2011 edition Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine discovered the link between schoolyard bullies and domestic violence. Men who had bullied schoolmates once in a while were twice as likely to have engaged in violence against a female partner within the previous year compared to men who said they had never bullied their school peers. Men who had admitted bullying frequently in school were four times as likely to have done compared to men who had never bullied in school. Behaviors such as bullying and intimate partner violence often share many common causes, such as child-abuse victimization or witnessing parental violence. Intervention early on could potentially help the young bully learn self-control or cultivate empathy, potentially reducing the risk of aggressive behavior in intimate relationships in the future.
The consequences associated with bullying
The link between bullying and suicide among young people is well established, making it incredibly important for parents and teachers to learn how to spot the signs of depression caused by cyberbullying. Research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair, as well as depression and anxiety, which can contribute to suicidal behavior. The popular Netflix documentary 13 Reason Why was viewed by millions of viewers around the globe, and although it is known as a controversial film about suicide among high school adolescents; it did shed light on the critical link between cyberbullying and suicide. In the past, such incidents was seen as just a regular part of growing up, but recent studies have begun to uncover just how damaging emotional abuse from one’s peers can be.
Kristen Fuller, M.D., is a clinical content writer and enjoys writing about evidence-based topics in the cutting-edge world of mental health and addiction medicine. She is a family medicine physician and author, who also teaches and contributes to medicine board education. Her passion lies within educating the public on preventable diseases, including mental health disorders and the stigma associated with them. She is also an outdoor activist and spends most of her free time empowering other women to get outside into the backcountry.