October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

Short & Long Term Effects of Bullying

The Effects of Bullying Don’t End
When Kids Graduate

What Are the Long Term Effects of Bullying?

There are now over two decades of studies showing the negative long term effects of bullying on the victim and bully at both the psychological and societal levels.

The Long Term Effects of Physical vs. Relational / Verbal Bullying

While physical bullying is often dealt with harshly by schools, verbal and relational bullying can be more damaging, is often undetectable and can continue for years without consequence. The long term effects of verbal and relational bullying can last well into adulthood.

Cause & Effect of Bullying: Psychological Problems

Students involved in bullying often have underlying psychological problems. Bullies often suffer from depression while victims often suffer from anxiety problems. Treating the underlying psychological issues can correct the bullying and victimization problems.

Schoolwide Programs Necessary But Not Sufficient for Victimized Students

The effects of bullying on victims that have been chronically victimized (in many cases for years) will need individualized help to deal with. Without individualized help, victimized students are likely to go on to experience depression, anxiety and anger problems later on in life while at the same time often blaming themselves for being the target of bullying.

Individual counselling and group counselling have shown efficacy in alleviating depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation as well as helping to boost self-esteem and well being. Other techniques for dealing with the psychological effects of bullying on victims include daily thought records, cognitive behavioural therapy, anger management strategies and more. Depending on the home environment, anger management strategies can be useful for both children and adults. Anger management strategies will not be as useful for children if their parents are still modeling aggressive behaviour as a means of problem solving.

It’s important to note that depression, anxiety and other psychological effects of bullying on victims may present differently in children than adults. Parents may need to consult a specialist to identify these conditions in their children.

Interventions Directed at Students Who Bully

Bullying is often a rewarding activity for students who engage in it. Through bullying they may be perceived as leaders by their fellow classmates.

For students that bully, it’s important to discuss how they perceive bullying and find out whether they find it rewarding. A common technique provided to students that bully is empathy training – helping students that bully realize the negative effects of their actions on the victim – however this technique will not be as useful if the bullies find bullying to be a rewarding activity.

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