It has been proven that bullying has long-term negative effects on the health and behavior of children (Pearce & Thompson, 2006). Bullying has a lasting impact on physical and emotional health, social interaction and the academic success of those who are bullied.
The physical health of bullied children can be seriously affected. Unfortunately, victims of bullies have to deal with much more than “wedgies” and being crammed into a hallway locker. Bullying leads to a higher risk of physical health problems. Young people dealing with bullying are three times more likely to suffer from headaches, difficulty sleeping and bed wetting. Children and youth also experience stomach pains and often have a poor appetite. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018), these problems are increased with development.
In addition to physical issues, bullying causes several mental health problems in victims. Frequent bullying is a traumatic experience for children and adolescents. Bullying puts kids at a high risk for the development of a psychiatric disorder (Nierenberg, 2015). One of the issues that can be caused by bullying is depression. Bullied individuals often become sad and lonely. And adolescents who are picked on are more likely to overuse medications to address their physical and emotional problems.
Physical and mental health problems are not the only issues that bullied students face. These students also tend to have difficulties with emotional and social development. For instance, bullied children are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem as well (Gonzales, 2017). Oftentimes, when an individual is bullied, they develop feelings of being unimportant or unworthy of attention or help (especially because he/she is not getting the attention or help they need). Children and adolescents often seek approval from their peers. Acceptance largely contributes to a child’s sense of happiness, belonging and self-concept. Low confidence levels and poor communication skills are typical results of being bullied.
Bullying also impacts students’ academic outcomes. Students who are bullied are more likely to dislike and avoid school. When a student is bullied they do not want to go to school and have lower attendance rates. Poor attendance directly impacts a student’s academic performance and grades. Academic success is adversely affected by bullying for both the bully and the victim (Crist, 2017).
The impact of bullying goes far beyond a few scrapes and a bruised ego. Victims of bullying struggle with long-term physical, mental, emotional, social and even academic obstacles. We have to do something to help our schools and communities address these issues. In order to address the impacts, it is so important that we first recognize when an individual is being bullied. Be sure to check out my next blog, Beating up Bullying: Part Three Recognizing Bullying. Until then…stay informed, stay involved.
Crist, C. (2017, February 2). School bullying linked to poorer academic achievement. Reuters Health.
Gonzales, K. (2017). The connection between low self-esteem and bullying. Attitudes and Persuasion. Social Psychology.
Nierenberg, C. (2015). Childhood bullying can have lasting effects on mental health. Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/53034-childhood-bullying-lasting-mental-health-effects.html
Pearce, J. B. and Thompson, A. E. (2006). Practical approaches to reduce the impact of bullying. BMJ Journals. Archive of Disease in Childhood, 79(6).
United States Health and Human Services. (2017). Physical health problems and bullying. https://www.prevnet.ca/sites/prevnet.ca/files/fact-sheet/PREVNet-SAMHSA-Factsheet-Physical-Health-ProblemsandBullying.pdf
Author : Dr. P.K. Wayne