International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

Global Perspectives: Bullying and the Consequences for Mental Health and Wellbeing

10/01/2017
by Dieter Wolke, PhD & Slava Dantchev, Bsc
Bullying is a form of systematic abuse by peers, defined as any aggressive behaviour that is inflicted intentionally and repeatedly over time and involves an element of perceived or real power imbalance (Wolke & Lereya, 2015). Bullying can occur directly (e.g., hitting, name calling) or indirectly (e.g., spreading rumours, social exclusion) and includes the use of social media (e.g., cyber bullying) (Wolke & Lereya, 2015; Wolke, Lee, & Guy, 2017). Children that are involved in bullying may assume the role of the victim, bully or bully/victim–a subgroup of victims who also bully their peers. Victimization by peers is most frequently reported with up to 20 percent of children identifying themselves as victims; while those reporting to be bullies or bully/victims is less common with around only 2-5 percent self-reporting to bully and up to 5-10 percent who are bully-victims (Copeland et al., 2013; Wolke & Lereya, 2015).

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