Most adults can remember a time when they were teased at school. This teasing could have been friendly or mean-spirited. Teachers, parents, therapists, and researchers have become more concerned about teasing that leads to bullying. According to recent studies, between 20-40% of U.S. teenagers report being bullied three or more times during the past year. Between 7-15% report bullying others three or more times during the past year.
Some people argue that bullying has increased dramatically in the last 20 years due to changes in society, families, and schools. Others say bullying is no more common now than it was in the past. They suggest that the difference today is that school staff and parents are taking bullying more seriously. In the past, it may have been overlooked. Regardless of its history, with one in three teens affected, bullying is considered a major problem today.
Bully: v. to hurt, frighten, or tyrannize over; to browbeat
Bullying is a way to dominate another person through behavior. It is usually defined as ongoing physical or verbal harassment between two people that have an imbalance of power. Those who bully use physical, verbal, and emotional or psychological methods to humiliate, embarrass, or overpower someone. Bullying typically includes:
Researchers have found two types of adolescents involved in bullying. The first are bullies, or those who victimize others. The second are victims, or those who are the targets of such behavior. In some cases, bullies become victims and vice versa. As the characteristics below demonstrate, there are similarities and differences between both these groups.
www.aacap.org/web/aacap/publications/factsfam/80.htm Fact sheet from the American Academy of Adolescent & Child Psychiatry
www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/family/nf309.htm Fact sheet from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Haynie, D., Nansel, T., Eitel, P., Crump, A., Saylor, K., Yu, K. (2001). Bullies, victims and bully/victims: Distinct groups of at-risk youth. Journal of Early Adolescence, 21(1), 29-49.
Kaltiala-Heino, R., Rimpela, M., Rantanen, P., Rimpela, A. (2000). Bullying at school-an indicator of adolescents at risk for mental disorders. Journal of Adolescence, 23, 661-674.
Mynard, H., Joseph, S., Alexander, J. (2000). Peer-victimization and posttraumatic stress in adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences, 29, 815-821.
Mullin-Rindler, M. (Fall/Winter 2001). Commentary. Wellesley Center for Women's Research Report, 23(1), 34-35.
Olweus, D. (1996). Bullying at school: Knowledge base and an effective intervention program. In C. Ferris & T. Grisso (Eds) Understanding aggressive behavior in children. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 794 (pp. 265-276). New York Academy of Sciences: NY.
Reviewed by Novella Ruffin, Extension Specialist, Virginia State University
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
May 1, 2009