Short and Long Term Negative Psychological Effects of Bullying
Bullying takes many forms and occurs in schools, homes, the internet, and even workplaces. Bullying is a form of intimidation meant to cause physical and psychological harm to the victim. Some of the most common forms of bullying that children, adolescents, and adults experience almost daily include; gas-lighting, ridicule, embarrassment, or even name-calling. No one is born a bully. However, people may develop bullying traits or resort to bullying tactics for several reasons ranging from seeking revenge to gaining power and social dominance over others, or it might even be due to exposure to early adverse childhood experiences. Bullying impacts the victims in different ways, both physically, emotionally, and psychologically, and for the short and long term. The paper discusses the short and long-term negative psychological effects of bullying on people.
Short Term Effects: School Avoidance, Anxiety, Low Self-esteem, and Depressive Disorders
Bullying affects both the victims and the bully in different ways, psychologically and mentally. According to Finne et al. (2018), short and long-term psychological effects of bullying at work, schools, the internet and at home point to victims developing or experiencing depression, loneliness and, in some circumstances, suicidal thoughts or ideation. In school, students who have experienced bullying may become truants, generally dislike school or associate with other students, which is detrimental to their academic performances. On the other hand, adolescents and adults who have experienced bullying tend to develop a high degree of depressive symptoms or disorders and, in most cases, suffer low self-esteem. In essence, both children and adults can experience bullying in different spaces, from school to work to home, disrupting their normal way of life physically, socially and psychologically. Such people find it hard to fully and comfortably integrate into society.
Long Term Effects: Self-destructive behavior, Substance Dependence, and Anxiety Disorders
Consequently, bullying exposes bullies to great risks of developing long-term mental health issues. Quintana-Orts & Rey (2018) note that it is not only bully victims who suffer physically, mentally and psychologically, but also the bullies themselves; most bullies have anti-social traits or behaviors such as loneliness, drug and substance abuse, and in most cases, they have anger and self-destructive behaviors. In line with this, men who have experienced bullying or were once bullies have a higher likelihood of developing suicidal ideation. On the flip side, women are at great risk of developing agoraphobia. Children or adolescents who have experienced bullying or were bullies at some point in their life tend to experience short and long terms episodes of panic and anxiety attacks (Anasori et al., 2020). Therefore, bullying is bi-directional and affects both the victims and the perpetrators in almost equal measure.
Bullying, whether online or physical, is detrimental to people’s mental health and general well-being. People are different, which informs how they respond to bullying or exhibit psychological behaviors during and after it. Bullying is the deliberate intimidation, abuse and coercion of another person to harm them physically, emotionally, psychologically or otherwise. Bullying presents a great risk of both short and long-term psychological effects to both the bully and the victim. Bullying takes many forms and may be due to the urge to gain power and social dominance of the victims or seek retaliation or revenge. Short and long-term negative psychological effects of bullying on children, adolescents and adults include low self-esteem, substance dependence, avoidance of school and work, anxiety and panic attacks and depressive disorders.
Anasori, E., Bayighomog, S. W., & Canova, C. (2020). Workplace bullying, psychological distress, resilience, mindfulness, and emotional exhaustion. The Service Industries Journal, 40(1-2), 65-89.
Finne, J., Roland, E., & Svartdal, F. (2018). Relational rehabilitation: reducing harmful effects of bullying. Nordic Studies in Education, 38(4), 352-367.
Quintana-Orts, C., & Rey, L. (2018). Traditional bullying, cyberbullying and mental health in early adolescents: Forgiveness as a protective factor of peer victimization. International journal of environmental research and public health, 15(11), 2389.