Effects of Bullying
Students who experience bullying are at greater risk to succumb to poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression (Center for Disease Control, 2015). Students who are both targets of bullying and engage in bullying behavior are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems (Center for Disease Control, 2015).
Bullied students report that bullying has a negative effect on how they feel about themselves (19%), and an adverse effect on their relationships with friends and family, and their confidence in completing their school work (14%). This is in addition to having negative effects on their physical health (9%) (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016). Bullied students are twice as likely as non-bullied students to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomach pains (Gini & Pozzoli, 2013). Students who blame themselves for the abuse and determine that they deserved to be bullied are more likely to face negative outcomes, such as depression, extended victimization, and difficulties with adjusting to school environments (Perren, Ettakal, & Ladd, 2013; Shelley & Craig, 2010). The percentages of youth who have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their life have nearly doubled (18% to 34%) from 2007-2016 (Patchin & Hinduja, 2016).
Bullying contributes to suicide, mass shootings, and school violence
Researchers find that there is an association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors. This association is often coupled with other factors such as depression, violent behavior, and substance abuse (Reed, Nugent, & Cooper, 2015). Students who bully others, are bullied, or witness bullying are more likely to report high levels of suicide-related behavior than students who are not involved in bullying (Center for Disease Control, 2014). Students who’ve experienced bullying are nearly three times more likely to attempt suicide than students not facing bullying (Gini & Espelage, 2014). A particularly disturbing shift is that, while men are three times more likely to die by suicide, the rate of suicide in teenage girls has doubled from 2007 to 2015.
Studies have also shown a correlation between school shooters and bullying, in instances where mass shooters felt provoked to commit their heinous crimes. Approximately 71% of school shooters felt “persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked or injured” leading up to their school attack, according to Secret Service data. Bullied high schoolers are also more than twice as likely to bring guns or knives to school as their non-bullied peers.