What is bullying?

A form of aggressive behavior that is intentional, abusive, intimidating, malicious and/or threatening.  It generally involves abuse of power and can be physical and/or psychological in nature. It may include verbal aggression, demeaning behaviors, or threats to do harm (especially if one does not forfeit something, such as homework or money).

macspeak2Bullying facts:

  • Bullying is noted to occur mostly in the school years (middle school especially), but it also carries over into adulthood and in the workplace.
  • Bullying is the result of a power differential (size and strength are non-discriminate factors).
  • Programs are only as effective as the environment in which they are implemented. Schools, and especially adults in schools, must create a culture of respect.
  • The existing research and programs are slow to acknowledge that bystanders are at the root of maintaining the culture, because they fuel the power differential. Programs need to target bystanders and empower them to act.
  • Research indicates that it is likely that most kids both bully and are bullied; especially when considering relational aggression.
  • There are laws and/or policies in all 50 states against bullying, which can result in incarceration of the perpetrator.
  • Awareness, prevention and intervention are steps needed for an anti-bullying program to be effective.
  • Bullying YouTube video–A survivor’s inspirational story

This information was provided by Maria Cuddy-Casey, Ph.D., an associate professor and chair of the Psychology Department at Immaculata University, as well as a clinical psychologist specializing in children and adolescents.