Bullying, or bullying of others, is one of the most serious challenges in today’s school environment. The multifaceted nature of this phenomenon includes verbal aggression, physical aggression and cyberbullying. What are the psychological aspects of bullying in the context of school, given its impact on the psychological development of children and adolescents? How to fight this disturbing phenomenon?

Table of Contents:

What is bullying?

Bullying at school is nothing more than bullying. Peer violence can take many forms, such as verbal, physical, social or electronic violence. The most important aspect, however, is the inequality in power relations, where one participant is systematically exploited by the other. In the context of school, this phenomenon can lead to serious consequences for the mental health of victims.

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Bullying at school usually targets one person who becomes the target of bullying and attacks by others. Verbal abuse can include insults, name-calling, ridicule and even social exclusion, which can lead to isolation and alienation of the victim. Physical violence manifests itself through aggressive behavior that can lead to physical injury. Social violence, on the other hand, can include social manipulation, gossip or rejection from a peer group. In contrast, cyberbullying, increasingly common in the Internet age, involves using technology to insult, intimidate or humiliate others online.

How does bullying affect the psyche of victims?

Bullying has a profound effect on the psyche of victims and can lead to a variety of emotional and social problems. Depression, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts are common consequences of this type of violence. Victims often experience difficulties in establishing healthy social relationships, which can affect their emotional and social development.

People who become victims of bullying at school are often exposed to chronic stress, which can cause long-term consequences for their mental health. Depression, as one of the most serious consequences of bullying, manifests itself in feelings of despondency, loss of interest in life and persistent sadness. Anxiety can manifest as restlessness, excessive tension and difficulty concentrating. Reduced self-esteem is an important part of the psychological effects, affecting how the victim sees himself and his place in society.

Bullying at school
Photo: Getty Images

An extremely dangerous consequence of peer violence is the emergence of suicidal thoughts, which require immediate intervention and specialized support. Bullying at school can also harm the victim’s ability to establish healthy social relationships. Struggling with trauma and distrust of others, victims often isolate themselves, avoid social contact and experience difficulty in building trust.

Children and adolescents who are victims of bullying may experience difficulties in developing interpersonal skills, which can negatively affect their adult lives. Therefore, the elimination of bullying not only ensures school safety, but also creates conditions for the full development and healthy emotional functioning of the school community.

Psychological analysis of the aggressor. Who is he?

Psychological analysis of the aggressor is a key element in understanding and effectively countering bullying at school. Very often, aggressors show narcissistic traits, lack of empathy and difficulty in dealing with their own emotions. Understanding the mechanisms underlying aggressive behavior can help construct effective strategies to counter it.

In the case of aggressors, one can often see the presence of narcissistic traits, which means a tendency to overestimate one’s own worth and exalt oneself above others. This sense of superiority often leads to a desire to dominate and control others, which can drive aggressive behavior and abuse of another person.

Bullying at school
Photo: Jonathan Taylor

Lack of empathy is another important characteristic of aggressors. People who exhibit aggressive behavior often fail to identify with the feelings of others and do not understand the effects of their actions on others. It is the lack of empathy that can make the aggressor unaware of the negative consequences of his actions, making it even more difficult for him to change this behavior.

Difficulties in dealing with one’s own emotions are also a common part of aggressor psychology. For him, aggression can be a form of expressing frustration, anger or misunderstanding of his own feelings. Recognizing these difficulties is key to working effectively to change aggressive behavior and help the aggressor deal with his emotions in a more constructive way.

Understanding the psychological mechanisms underlying aggressive attitudes is essential for constructing effective strategies to counter this phenomenon. Cooperation with school psychologists, specialists in the field. behavior or therapists, can provide tools to effectively support aggressors and prevent further incidents of bullying at school. The ultimate goal is not only to punish the aggressor, but also to rehabilitate him and form healthy, positive behavior patterns.

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The key role of witnesses

Witnesses to bullying at school also experience psychological impact. Observing violence and abuse of another person, can lead to feelings of powerlessness, fear and even guilt. However, witnesses also play a key role in countering this form of violence, serving as a potential support group for victims.

The key role of witnesses in the phenomenon of bullying at school extends to various psychological aspects, both in terms of negative effects and potential positive impact. Witnesses often experience the psychological impact of observing violence at school, which can lead to a variety of emotions and reactions.

Observing acts of violence can create feelings of powerlessness in witnesses, as they may find it difficult to intervene, desist from violence due to fears for their own safety or uncertainty about how to effectively help. This feeling of helplessness can turn into fear and anxiety when witnesses fear that they too may become targets of aggression themselves.

In addition, observers may experience feelings of guilt, especially if they are aware of bullying at school but do not take action to counter it. The feeling that they have done nothing or enough can affect their well-being and ability to deal with the situation.

Despite these negative effects, witnesses play a key role in countering bullying at school. They are a potential support group for victims, as their presence and involvement can have a significant impact on the situation. Through activism and solidarity, witnesses can deter aggressors and offer emotional support to victims. At the same time, it is the witnesses who have the power to report incidents, which can contribute to a quicker response from teachers and school staff.

Psychological interventions

Effective psychological intervention for bullying can include a variety of strategies. Educational programs aimed at both students, teachers and parents can help reduce bullying at school. Individual therapies for victims and aggressors, as well as psychological support for witnesses, are important components of a comprehensive intervention.

Bullying at school
Photo: Road Ahead

How do you specifically combat bullying?

Combating bullying requires an integrated approach at multiple levels, involving both the school and the community. Here are some specific steps that can help combat bullying:

  1. Educational programs:
    • Introducing educational programs that focus on promoting respect, empathy and tolerance.
    • Organizing anti-violence workshops and training teachers on how to recognize and respond to cases of bullying.
  2. Monitoring and Response:
    • Implement a behavior monitoring system to respond quickly to bullying incidents.
    • Establish clear and consistent rules for behavior, and enforce these rules fairly.
  3. Psychological support:
    • Providing psychological support for victims of bullying and trouble makers.
    • Enable students to easily access counseling and therapy.
  4. Parental involvement:
    • Regularly informing parents about safety issues at school.
    • Organizing meetings and seminars for parents on the importance of countering bullying.
  5. Creating a friendly school culture:
    • Supporting initiatives that promote a welcoming and inclusive school environment.
    • Reward positive behavior and attitudes.
  6. Social integration:
    • Support inclusive programs and group activities that foster positive relationships among students.
    • Creating an atmosphere in which every student voice is heard and respected.
  7. Awareness campaigns:
    • Organizing educational campaigns to raise awareness in the school community about the harms of bullying.
    • Teaching students how they should react when they see a case of bullying.
  8. Examples and “role model”:
    • Promote positive behavior patterns and support the activities of students who act as leaders against bullying.
    • Using examples from everyday life to teach about respect and tolerance.

Combating bullying requires the involvement of all participants in the school community, and effective action should be aimed at prevention, education and support for all parties involved.

The future of bullying research

The future of school bullying research should focus on developing more precise measurement tools to better understand the psychological mechanisms of this phenomenon. In addition, longitudinal studies can provide valuable information on the long-term psychological effects experienced by victims of bullying.

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