Bullying in Schools and Workplace

What Is Bullying?

Treatment for bullying victims may include counseling and therapy to boost confidence.
Treatment for bullying victims may include counseling and therapy to boost confidence.

Bullying is repeated physical or verbal aggression over time with an imbalance of power against the specific victim.

What Are the Different Types of Bullying?

Depending upon the reference, there are three to five types of bullying. The following lists five types:

  • Physical -- including attacking involving hitting, kicking, pushing
  • Verbal -- words to harm, such as insults, sexual comments, verbal threats
  • Relational -- exclusion from a group by verbal threats, rumors and/or intimidation
  • Reactive -- responding to being a former victim of bullying by picking on others
  • Property assault -- damaging, stealing, or otherwise harming the victim’s property

Why Do People Bully?

Bullying is the likely result of the bully’s desire to get and keep control over someone else for various reasons.

What Are the Risk Factors for Bullying?

There risk factors for someone to become a target for bullying include:

  • Having anxiety or depression
  • Having limited emotional and/or social interactions
  • Being overweight or obese (real or imagined)
  • Being underweight
  • Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender
  • Being an immigrant
  • Having disabilities
  • Being a high-achieving minority

What Are the Symptoms and Warning Signs of Bullying?

The symptoms and warning signs that someone is a victim of bullying include:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Few friends
  • Missing items, such as earphones or other personal items
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches
  • Bedwetting
  • Appetite changes
  • Dizziness
  • Nightmares
  • Arriving late for school or work, or skipping out
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Sadness
  • Self-destructive
  • Thoughts of and/or suicide attempts

What Are the Effects of Bullying?

Effects of bullying for victims and the bullies can be serious. Both may experience:

Victims of bullying are at risk for all the symptoms and warning signs listed above.

Bullies are also at risk for:

  • Developing actions of vandalism
  • Substance abuse
  • Dropping out of school or work

What Are the Treatments for Victims and Bullies?

Treatment options for bullying victims may include counseling and therapy to boost confidence. Intervention by a peer or a person in authority may be effective. Some victims of bullying may need to relocate and/or remove themselves from the bully by going to another school or leaving the workplace. They may also need medications to treat some of the effects of bullying, such as anxiety or depression.

Treatments for bullies can begin in childhood by listening to their reasons for their actions and holding them responsible for their behavior. Adults should monitor them for aggressive behavior and give them a way to channel their behavior into supervised activities like sports. If the bully is a victim of abuse or neglect, notify authorities.

How to Stop Bullying

If you are a victim of bullying, notify people in authority such as teachers and administrators at school, or the human resources department at work.

Bystanders can:

  • By peer pressure, discourage ongoing bullying.
  • Encourage the victim to seek help from authorities.
  • Separate the bully from the victim and make sure everyone is safe.
  • Stay calm.

How to Prevent Bullying

Adults may prevent bullying by convincing the bully that such behavior in not acceptable the first time it happens. Parents, school staff, and other adults can prevent bullying by:

  • Discussing it
  • Building a safe environment
  • Creating a prevention strategy (for example, establishing rules and policies about how students or workers are to treat each other)
  • Enforcing those rules and policies by intervening in bullying acts


Negative emotions are more powerful than positive emotions. See Answer

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Dryden-Edwards, R. “Bullying.” MedicineNet. July 15, 2019.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Stop Bullying on the Spot.”

Patient Comments & Reviews

  • Bullying -- Definition/Types

    What type of bullying have you experienced? Share your experience.

  • Bullying -- Signs/Symptoms

    What signs or symptoms did you notice that led to your discovery that a loved one was a victim of bullying?

  • Bullying -- Stop

    Were you ever a bystander when someone was being bullied? What happened and what did you do?

  • Bullying -- Prevention

    What can you do to prevent bullying in your workplace or school?