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Effects of Bullying Throughout Life

This research paper will deal with if bullying from childhood and throughout life will have multiple emotional and physical effects.. That includes victims who have also witnessed bullying. Bullying by definition is “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.” (USDH 2014) The paper will cover on people who are bullied if they are more likely to be depressed. Oyaziwo (2008). If the victims are also more likely to be suicidal. It will also question if victims of bullying have trouble concentrating at school or at work, which results in their academic or work performance decreasing. We can question if victims feel scared to even go to school or work that they will skip school or call off. It will also observe if people who are bullied will generally show higher levels of insecurity, anxiety, depression, loneliness, unhappiness, physical and mental symptoms, and low-self esteem. Even some of the physical symptoms are headaches, skin problems, sweating, trembling, panic attacks, IBS, and pain in their joints and muscles.

Effects of Bullying Throughout Life
In one time or other many school-going children experience some form of bullying. Wherever a group of peers exists there is likelihood that bullying might take place. To many, this is an inconsequential or unfortunate event that came to pass until it becomes persistent. However, not all victim of bullying manages to overcome the effects of the vice and instead the effects follow the victims in the entire lives. This paper will discuss the reasons for bullying from childhood and throughout life and possible multiple emotional and physical effects. The discussion will include accounts of victims who have been directly affected and those who witnessed incidences of bullying. In addition, this paper will discuss how bullying victim are likely to be depressed, become suicidal, develop phobia, lose concentration in school, and developing physical symptoms (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010).

Bullying is the unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involve a real or perceived power balance. According to Rigby (2007), the behavior is recurring or has potential to persist, over time. According to Due et al. (2009), in bullying the dominant individual deliberately tries to humiliate a less dominant individual, consequently causing emotional distress or physical pain. There are different forms of bullying; it ranges from teasing and exclusion to physical attack. Bullying may also include such actions as spreading very disturbing rumors, verbal attacks, being forced to part with money or personal item. Many types of abuses related to bullying have been identified as having both physical and emotional effects on the victim. Verbal abuse may include name-calling, shouting, being told that they are worthless, and creating constant interruption. Emotional abuse may include manipulation, isolation, threats, public humiliation, and insult. Physical abuse may include forceful behavior such as slapping, hitting, pinching, choking, being held down, and using weapons. Sexual abuse happens when a victim is coerced or forced to have sex, receive unwanted pictures or text about sex. Bullying based on victim gender is mostly directed at girls and is carried out behind victim’s back, sometimes through the use of technology. These forms of bullying have devastating effects on the life of the victim that may last over a lifetime (Klomek et al., 2011).

Studies show that almost all schools have incidences of bullying. For instant, a study carried out in schools in United Kingdom between 1984 and 1986 involving 4000 children confirmed bullying was rampant in the school. The study revealed that over 68 percent of children had experienced bullying at least once; five percent of felt bullying had been affected emotionally and academically. The study indicated that the victims reacted by running away from the scene, refused to go to school, or trying suicide. A subsequent study involving children aged 13 years revealed that 34 percent and 26 percent of girls and boys respectively were afraid of bullies at least once in a lifetime. Bullying happens in schools throughout the world; it is not a problem of few countries. For example, a study on bullying in Norwegian schools revealed that one in every pupil was involved in bullying as a victim or the bully (Due et al., 2009).

Bullying is a social vice; it is hard to predict when it will happen, but everyone can do something about it. It is important to know why bullying takes place. There are various reasons that make bullying take place. Studies have identified general factors that contribute to bullying. The existence of power imbalance on perpetrator’s favor encourages bullying. Perpetrators get support from groups of peer and often contribute in execution of the vice by encouraging the bully or watch and offer no help to the victim. The victim is pushed out of the group and become isolated. The power of the perpetrator is fortified by successful exclusion of the victim from the larger group. Bullying is intentional, repetitive and relentless and aimed at humiliating the victim. Studies indicate that the level of self-esteem in children who bully others is average or sometimes above-average. Most children who bully others also possess leadership skills, socialize easily, and can easily form a network of friends. Bullies have a group of other children that support the bullying action. Bullies always look for a chance to exert dominance and control others. Most bullies are controlled by greed for power; they try to get this by hurting others. They can be hot-headed, aggressive, and dominant. They plan the actions well on how to use aggression effectively to control and torment the weak colleagues.

According to Due et al. (2009), children whom bully others receive tangible or intangible rewards. Bullies often receive recognition from the allies for the action; this acts as a motivation to continue with the bullying. Bullying creates fear and intimidation, and the bully is rewarded with status and prestige. Bullying among peer command attention; children whom bully others do so because they want to be popular among the peer. Bullying may also be triggered by need to acquire material things such as toys or lunch money. Studies have revealed that bullies lack empathy, and may enjoy other children’s pain. The results of empathic reactivity tests on children whom bully others indicated low score. In addition to low empathic score, the probability of bullies developing anti-social personality disorder was higher than that of non-bullies. This condition causes a person to overlook other people’s feeling or rights. Bullies have difficulties self-regulating the emotions because the part of the brain that allow a person to self-regulate emotions is inactive. They are unable to control the frustration, and this may result in overreact on slight provocation. There are risks factors that contribute to bullying in children. The child’s family background coupled by poverty and deprivation has a bearing on victim’s behavior and may contribute to being a perpetrator of bullying.

The effects of bullying on victim or perpetrator can be life changing; the consequences may be immediate or long term. The immediate reactions include lack of interest in school, refusing to school, and sometimes committing suicide. Recent studies indicate that each year about ten children commits suicide in U.K as a result of being frustrated by bullies. The immediate effects of bullying in school-going children include sleeping problems (insomnia) or having frequent nightmares, feeling depressed and sad in general. Bullying makes jovial children change to unhappy and miserable lots that are not interested in school. The children may start overeating or stop eating, they also complain of stomach aches or headaches, and some may lose self-confidence. Children who have been bullied for a long time may also turn into bullies; bulling may also destroy the victim’s self-confidence and results to possible suicide. Among the most devastating effect of bullying is severe depression and low self-esteem. Numerous studies on the effect of bullying on a victim indicate that bullying is a major issue in real life. Bullying may affect the victims’ entire life if they lack a mechanism to cope with it. A person may not know the effects of bullying unless one falls in the hands of a bully (Copeland et al., 2013).
A study conducted on adults who had suffered bullying at school indicated that the impact of bullying was still evident in later life. The study revealed that prolonged bullying during childhood had a negative knock-on effect on victim’s later life. The study involving over a thousand adults indicated that bullying affected a victim’s self-esteem in adulthood. Bullying also affected victims’ ability to make friends excel academically and working relationship. Fifty percent of respondents who suffered bullying in school contemplated suicide in adulthood compared seven percent of those who were not bullied. Bullying victims were found to have increased suicide risk as compared to individuals who were not bullied. The study revealed that the majority of adults who suffered bullying felt bitter and angry about the cruelty they suffered under bullies in school as children. The victim complained that they never received help from anyone to stop the bullying, telling also made bullying worse because no action was taken (Copeland et al., 2013).

Recent study shows that negative physical, social and mental health effects of bullying during childhood continue to haunt victims forty years later. The study that followed up children until they reached 50 years of age involved over 7000 children who were exposed to bullying at childhood (seven to eleven years). The study indicates that the impact of bullying was still visible 40 years later. According to scientist, the impact of bullying is cruel and vicious, with social, economic and health consequences lasting beyond childhood. The study revealed that individuals who were bullied had poorer psychological and physical health at age 50. In addition, the study showed that persons who were bullied for a long time in childhood faced an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, anxiety disorders, and depression. The study indicated that these bullying victims had lower educational level than non-victims; in addition male victims were more likely to engage in low paying jobs. Effects of bullying transcend the victim’s social life and the well-being. The study indicated that these individuals had lesser chances of being in a relationship and lacked social support. They were also likely to fall in low quality of life and unsatisfactory life. According to the study, the victim and bullies lacked the ability to maintain the jobs; they also had difficulty of committing to saving compared to uninvolved. The hurtful effect of bullying cannot be erased by factors such as childhood IQ, socioeconomic status of parents, behavioral and emotional problems or parental involvement (Copeland et al., 2013).

Recent studies show that children do not simply outgrow the agony of bullying; the mental health is affected till adulthood. The victim’s general mental problem begins as early as nine years if the bullying is persistent. The long-term effects such as risk for anxiety, depression, and other negative outcome affect both the perpetrators and the victims of bullying. The study found that bullying perpetrators were at higher risk of anxiety, substance abuse, hostility, depression than non-bullies. The mental health problems of individuals affected by bullying led to poor adulthood. However, the study revealed that pure bullies showed no problems with the emotional functioning in the adult life. This is because bullies enjoyed all the advantages such as power and prestige in the childhood relationships. Bullies have a higher likelihood of developing antisocial personality disorder. The disorder makes an individual have little or no apathy and can manipulate others people for personal gains. In addition, scientists have confirmed that individuals with antisocial personality disorder are likely to turn into criminals. The study also showed that pure victims of bullying had a higher risk for agoraphobia and panic attacks than individuals who were not affected by bullying. Bullying is also linked with the high risk of developing of anxiety/depressive disorder in victim’s later life. The probability of developing anxiety disorder in pure victims increased four times compared with children who were not involved in bullying. The risk of suffering from depression in both the bullying victim and the bully was five-times that of uninvolved children. Likewise, the likelihood of having suicidal thoughts in victim/bully was found to be ten times of the uninvolved children (Klomek et al., 2011).

All the studies indicate that both the bully and the victim are at a particular risk of adverse, long-term health outcomes. Scientists have brought to light the risk of problems related to poverty, health, and social relationship are magnified by exposure to bullying. The studies have looked into factors that stretch further than health-related outcomes. The results have shown that bullying should not be dismissed as an inevitable, harmless, part of growing up. A paradigm shift is required in the way the bullying menace is viewed. All the stakeholders in education must acknowledge that bullying is a serious problem for an individual, family and the country as a whole (Davis & Davis, 2007). The effects of bullying are significant and long-lasting. Some interventions already available in schools are not adequate to deal with the bullying menace. Efficient communication between the school, parents, government agencies and various stakeholders should be enhanced in order to address the problem of bullying. The family, the victim, the peer or onlookers needs to develop assertive skills in order to confront the bullies and where necessary alert the authorities about brutal behavior. The bullies require help in order to replace passive-aggressive behavior with empathic behavior. The victim and the bully may need lessons on social skills that will help them relate well with their peer group. Bullying must be prevented and stopped at all cost since the effect may last over a lifetime.


Copeland, W. E., Wolke, D., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2013). Adult psychiatric outcomes of bullying and being bullied by peers in childhood and adolescence. JAMA psychiatry, 70(4), 419-426.
Davis, S., & Davis, J. (2007). Schools where everyone belongs: Practical strategies for reducing bullying. Research Press.
Due, P., Merlo, J., Harel-Fisch, Y., & Damsgaard, M. T. (2009). Socioeconomic inequality in exposure to bullying during adolescence: a comparative, cross-sectional, multilevel study in 35 countries. American Journal of Public Health, 99(5), 907.
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2010). Bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide. Archives of Suicide Research, 14(3), 206-221.
Klomek, A. B., Kleinman, M., Altschuler, E., Marrocco, F., Amakawa, L., & Gould, M. S. (2011). High school bullying as a risk for later depression and suicidality. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 41(5), 501-516.
Rigby, K. (2007). Bullying in Schools and What to Do about It: Revised and Updated. Aust Council for Ed Research.

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