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The affects of bullying behaviour on children

The affects of being the target of bullying and mobbing behaviour are many and varied. We often only hear of the extreme cases where people resort to extreme physical violence, either to themselves or others. This can stop us thinking about either the more milder effects or those that are hidden and not recognised. Below is a summary of some of the effects that have been reported in studies of children targeted by bullying behaviour.
Psychological health
  • More likely to feel anxious*
  • Suffer from lower self esteem and self worth*
  • Strong relationship to depression*
  • Report more mental health problems*
  • More likely to suffer depression and low self esteem in adulthood*

Physical health
  • Children 3 times as likely to suffer headaches and feel listless*
  • Children 2 times as likely to have trouble sleeping, have stomach pain, feel tense, feel tired and have poor appetite*
  • More likely to suffer poorer health^
  • Physical injuries sustained from physical bullying behaviour e.g. broken teeth, bones^

Work performance
  • Can affect academic work and lower achievement*
  • Want to avoid school*
  • Less likely to participant in class*
  • Tend to lead less successful lives^
  • Less motivated #

  • Children 3 times as likely to wet the bed*
  • More likely to think about self harm*

Emotional health
  • Can feel any of the following: “afraid, alienated, angry, ashamed, depressed, disempowered, dumb, hurt, sad, stupid, subhuman, trampled on, ugly and useless” p. 35^
  • Feel more insecure #
  • Feel fearful and intimidated, lonely and isolated #

  • Parents and family feel angry when hearing about the situation^
  • Witnesses to behaviour feeling uneasy and scared^
  • Witnesses and friends avoiding and isolating the target in fear of receiving the same treatment^
  • Others that hear about the behaviour feeling the setting is unsafe^
  • Difficulty in forming good relationships^
  • Effect social status #

* - Cyberbullying: Bullying in the digital age (2012) by R. M. Kowalski, S. P. Limber & P. W. Agatston p. 33-35
^ - The Anti-bullying Handbook (2011) by Keith Sullivan p. 34-37
# – Bullying: A Guide to Research, Intervention, and Prevention (2012) by Faye Mishna p. 13-14
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