Your school’s customized School Health Profile indicates the percentage of students who reported being verbally attacked, physically attacked, or a victim of cyber-attacks, within the last month. Also included is the percentage of students who reported participating in bullying other students.

Why is bullying a health issue?

Boy looking sad and like he is being left out by othersBullying at school has become a widespread concern. According to one survey, at least one in three Canadian adolescent students reported being recently bullied.2 The consequences of being bullied are numerous and may include:

  • physical and social problems1
  • physical fights and injuries
  • weapon carrying at school3
  • poor social and emotional adjustment4
  • depressive symptoms5,6 and anxiety6
  • symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)7
  • underage drinking and smoking4
  • poor academic achievement4,8 including school dropout9 and
  • suicidal behaviour and suicide5,10

Bullying behaviour has been found to co-occur with tobacco, alcohol, and/or marijuana use.11,12 Adolescents who bully others may continue to do so as they grow up, which may manifest as sexual harassment, marital aggression,13 and/or criminal behavior.14 Bullies may experience depression, suicidal ideation, and even attempt suicide.10 Students who are both victims and perpetrators of bullying have been found to be the most troubled compared to students who are either victims or perpetrators.7

If bullying is a concern at your school, please consult the evidence-based recommendations offered in your customized School Health Profile.

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References

1Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2012). Canadian bullying statistics. Retrieved October 29, 2012 from: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45838.html#2.

2Craig, W., Pepler, D., & Blais, J. (2007). Responding to bullying: What works? School Psychology International, 28, 465-477.

3Nansel, T.R., Overpeck, M.D., Haynie, D.L., Ruan, W.J., & Scheidt, P.C. (2003). Relationships between bullying and violence among US youth. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, 157, 348-353.

4Nansel, T.R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R.S., Ruan, W.J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 285, 2094-2100.

5Klomek, A.B., Sourander, A., & Gould, M.S. (2011). Bullying and suicide: Detection and intervention.Psychiatric Times, 28(2), 1-6.

6Hong, J. S., & Espelage, D. L. (2012). A review of research on bullying and peer victimization in school: An ecological system analysis. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17, 311-322.

7Idsoe, T., Dyregrov, A., & Idsoe, E. C. (2012). Bullying and PTSD symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 901-911.

8Berthold, K.A., & Hoover, J.H. (2000). Correlates of bullying and victimization among intermediate students in Midwestern USA. School Psychology International, 21, 65-78.

9Cornell, D., Gregory, A., Huang, F., & Fan, X. (2012). Perceived prevalence of teasing and bullying predicts high school dropout rates. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1037/a0030416.

10Cooper, G. D., Clements, P. T., & Holt, K. E. (2012). Examining childhood bullying and adolescent suicide: Implications for school nurses. The Journal of School Nursing, 28(4), 275-283.

11Luk, J. W., Wang, J., & Simons-Morton, B. G. (2012). The co-occurrence of substance use and bullying behaviors among U.S. adolescents: Understanding demographic characteristics and social influences. Journal of Adolescence, 35(5), 1351-1360.

12Radliff, K. M., Wheaton, J. E., Robinson, K., & Morris, J. (2012). Illuminating the relationship between bullying and substance use among middle and high school youth. Addictive Behaviors, 37, 569-572.

13Harvey, M.G., Heamess, J.T., Richey, R.G., & Leonard, N. (2006). Bullying: From the playground to the boardroom. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 12, 1-11.

14Sourander, A., Elonheimo,  H, Niemala, S., Nuutila, A.M., Helenius, H., Sillanmaki, L, et al. (2006). Childhood predictors of male criminality: A prospective population-based follow-up study from age 8 to late adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 45, 578-586.

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