Bullying is defined as aggressive behavior directed at another in order to achieve or maintain a dominant position with the intention of causing mental or physical pain or harm. It influences the victim, bystanders, and the bully. It is not the same as teasing because teasing involves students of similar size or status. Bullying also tends to be repetitive and can be physical, social, or verbal. Contrary to common belief that it is found mostly in grammar school, it is found through the high school school years. Indeed bullying is more common in middle school and high school where the physical aggression of grammar school children is replaced by taunts, laughing at others, or name-calling. Often social media is used. Boys and girls report being bullied almost equally but girls tend to report and seek help more often. Victims of physical violence or having property damaged are more likely to report bullyinig than those subjected to name-calling, exclusion, or having rumors spread about them.
Patients seen in the office who have suffered bullying often present with depression, anxiety, and a variety of somatic complaints such as stomachaches, headaches, and insomnia. Interestingly, bullies often are depressed and suicidal. Bullying situations often involve people taking different roles, i.e., sometimes as bully and sometimes as victim. Those individuals that take either role tend to manifest impaired, unsafe, and untrustworthy interpersonal relationships. Bystanders to bullying are also affected adversely. These individuals often feel hopeless and report negative emotions during bullying. Bullying often heralds other problems in the child's history. They often come from families where violence is seen or physical or sexual abuse is present. The depression , anxiety, and defiance often persist into adulthood and manifest with those same symptoms or fighting or domestic violence.
For a much more comprehensive presentation on bullying, go to www.stopbullying.gov