An Overview of Bullying Summary by: Isabelle Chouinard. Common Characteristics of Bullies, Victims and Bully-Victims

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1 An Overview of Bullying Summary by: Isabelle Chouinard What is Bullying? Bullying, the most common form of violence in youth, is defined as a form of aggression in which one or more children intend to harm or disturb another child who is perceived as being unable to defend himself or herself. Bullying tends to occur repeatedly and includes behaviours such as name calling, physically hurting others, threatening, stealing, vandalizing, slandering, excluding from other children, and taunting that can result in fighting. Bullies generally have more physical or psychological power than their victims. Bullying is always linked with intense intimidation that leads to humiliation humiliation, abuse, and fear for the victim. Previous research found that nearly 30% of American students were involved in bullying either as a bully or as a victim. The majority of bullying incidents occur in or close to schools, mostly in playgrounds and hallways or in areas where there is little adult supervision. Common Characteristics of Bullies, Victims and Bully-Victims Bullies Characteristics Family Background Short and Long Term Effects of Bullying Overly aggressive Enjoy dominating others Hot-tempered Impulsive, destructive Low tolerance for frustration Have difficulty interpreting social information Have a positive attitude toward violence Tend to have poorer grades and dislike school Lack problem-solving skills Parents are hostile, rejecting, and indifferent to their children Father figure is usually weak if present at all Mother tends to be isolated and permissive Supervision of children tends to be lacking Discipline is inconsistent Punishment is often physical Mental health difficulties Underachieve in school and later perform below potential at work More likely to participate in criminal activities More likely to be physically aggressive toward their spouses children Tend to have children who become bullies Victims Bully- Victims (are both bullies and are bullied) Small in physical build, weak and frail compared with bullies Fear of getting hurt Tend to be more quiet, anxious, insecure and sensitive than most children Have greater difficulty making friends and greater loneliness Have poor self-esteem Anxious and aggressive Often victimized but also tend to provoke bullies Hyperactive with attention problems Hot-tempered Have low self-esteem Serious deficits in problemsolving abilities Families tend to be overprotective Parents avoid conflict because they believe their child would not be able to cope Parents are overly involved in their child s social activities to compensate for their child s lack of friends Tend to come from troubled homes Parents are inconsistent: overprotective and neglectful and sometimes abusive Parents use power assertive techniques with their children Highly likely to have anxiety or depression Sometimes commit suicide May experience physical injury, torn clothing, and damaged property More likely to bring weapons to school Adult relationship problems Tend to be over-protective of their own children Low self esteem Greatest risk of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and cooccurring mental health problems Significant risk of drinking and substance use as adolescents

2 An Overview of Bullying Summary by: Isabelle Chouinard Interventions Of utmost importance in any intervention is developing a culture of respect and recognition where not only is bullying not tolerated but bullying is not necessary. Multicomponent interventions that focus on the child, family, school and community appear to be particularly effective. The most widely recognised program for addressing bullying is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. This program targets elementary and middle schools and relies on teachers and school staff. School employees are responsible for creating school environments that are warm and involve children, have firm limits on unacceptable behaviour, and consistently apply non-hostile consequences for bullying behaviours. This program typically reduces bullying by 16% to 50%. There are also some Canadian initiatives to address bullying that have shown initial promising results, though they require further research: Restitution Self Discipline Roots of Empathy Leave Out ViolencE (L.O.V.E.) SafeTeen Anti-Discrimination Response Training (A.R.T.) W.I.T.S. program activities/research/cahr/research.html Proven tactics that can help promote a school culture of respect, recognition, learning, safety, and positive experiences for all students: Reach out to victims. Set and enforce rules and consequences for bullying behaviours. Supervise students during breaks, especially on playgrounds, in restrooms, and in busy hallways. Engage classes in discussions and activities related to bullying so that students who might otherwise watch passively become empowered to intervene and victims are allowed to have a voice without shame. Encourage active participation by parents and other adults, making this a community issue that is addressed by community action. Additional Source of Information: The Surgeon General s Report on Youth Violence (DHHS, 2001) is an excellent guide that classifies ineffective, promising, and model intervention programs based on empirical data. This summary is based on the following article: Smokowski PR, Kopasz KH. (2005). Bullying in School: An Overview of Types, Effects, Family Characteristics, and Intervention Strategies. Children & Schools 27(2):

3 Bullying in School: An Overview of Types, Effects, Family Characteristics, an... Paul R Smokowski; Kelly Holland Kopasz Children & Schools; Apr 2005; 27, 2; ProQuest Direct Complete pg. 101 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

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