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.

Quick GuideTeen Drama: Handling Mean Girls, Cyber Bullying, and Sexting

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What are the effects of bullying?

Bullying can have significantly negative outcomes. Teens who bully are at greater risk for engaging in delinquent behaviors, including vandalism, as well as violence inside and outside of school. They are also at risk of substance abuse and dropping out of school. Victims of these behaviors also tend to develop or increase their severity of anxiety. Bullies and victims tend to experience depression more than their peers who have not been involved in bullying, which can lead to academic problems, frequent absences from school, loneliness, and social isolation. Research shows that bullies and their victims are also at risk for having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Victims of workplace bullying may suffer from reduced job performance, more absences, and less work satisfaction. Ultimately, bullying may be the cause of higher staff turnover. People who are both victims and perpetrators of bullying seem to be more vulnerable to experiencing both internalizing (for example, loneliness, depression, and anxiety) and externalizing (for example, antisocial) symptoms.

Either being a bully or the victim of bullying has been found to increase the risk of engaging in self-harm, as well as suicidal thoughts and actions in both boys and girls. However, research indicates that the risk of both thoughts and attempts at suicide seem to be higher for girl victims and girl bullies no matter how infrequent the bullying occurs. However, the risk of suicidal thoughts seems to increase in boy bullies and victims when the bullying occurs repeatedly. Interestingly, the frequency of suicide attempts in boy bullies and victims seems to increase even when bullying occurs infrequently.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/5/2016

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