Bullying in the schools has negative effects on individual students and on the school
climate as a whole. Bullying can cause long-term problems for both the victims of bullying and
the bullies themselves. To explore the effects of bullying on adolescents, we will define bullying,
identify the characteristics of bullies and victims, outline the extent and consequences of
bullying, and present resources for further information and assistance.
Bullying is any behavior that is initiated by one or more students against a victim or
victims that causes physical or psychological intimidation. Bullying behaviors can be classified
as either direct (such as teasing, threatening, hitting, or stealing) or indirect (such as rumor
spreading or social isolation). Boys typically employed direct methods of bullying, while girls
tend to use in direct methods. Either way, behaviors must occur repeatedly over time to be
classified as bullying.
Characteristics of Bullies and Victims There are specific behaviors that bullies tend to
exhibit. The bullies often need to feel powerful and in control. They may feel no remorse when
they inflict injury and suffering on others. Bullies tend to defy authority and are likely to break
school rules. They seem to have little anxiety and appear to possess high self-esteem. Students
who come from homes characterized by physical punishment tend to be more likely to exhibit
these types of behaviors.
Victims also tend to exhibit specific characteristics. They are often anxious, insecure,
cautious, and have low self-esteem. Victims tend to be socially isolated, and may lack social
skills and friends. Because they tend to be weaker than their peers, either physically or socially,
victims rarely retaliate against bullies. Students who have close ties with th...