Bullying

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Teen Girls Tricky Issues Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideTeen Girls Pictures Slideshow: Mean Girls, Cyberbullying, Dating, Periods & More

Teen Girls Pictures Slideshow: Mean Girls, Cyberbullying, Dating, Periods & More

What makes a bully? Why do kids bully? Why do adults bully?

Bullying is thought to be the result of the bully's need to get and keep control over someone else. Contrary to the stereotype of the bully who is socially inept trying to make him or herself feel better, bullies have been found to have rather high self-esteem and to be social climbers. Child and adult bullies have a tendency to have low tolerance for frustration, trouble empathizing with others, and a tendency to view innocuous behaviors by their victims as being provocative.

Bystanders of bullying, those who witness it but are neither the primary bully nor the victim, tend to succumb to what they believe is peer pressure to support bullying behavior and fear of becoming the victim of the bully if they don't support the behavior. Further, bystanders are at risk for engaging in bullying themselves if they encourage the bullying by paying attention to the behavior or laughing about it.

What are causes and risk factors of bullying?

Risk factors for being the victim of bullying include already suffering from anxiety or depression. Actual or perceived obesity of the victim is also a risk factor. Being underweight is slightly associated with being bullied. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender youth are more often victims of bullying compared to their heterosexual counterparts.

What are symptoms and signs of children and adults who are bullied?

Signs that may indicate that a child may be being bullied include missing belongings, unexplained injuries, and a limited number of friends. Symptoms experienced by victims of bullying may be physical, emotional, and behavioral. Examples of physical symptoms include those often associated with stress, like headaches, stomachaches, changes in appetite, dizziness, and general aches and pains. Psychological symptoms often include irritability, anxiety, sadness, trouble sleeping, tiredness in the mornings, loneliness, helplessness, and feeling isolated. Victims of bullying may start getting to school or work late, taking off more days, or even trying to retaliate against their tormentors.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/5/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Children's Health & Parenting Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Bullying - Workplace

    What have you found to be effective at preventing bullying in the workplace?

    Post
  • Bullying - Prevention

    Have you witnessed someone being bullied? What did you do to stop the bullying?

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors