Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Preventing Bullying at Your School

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Preventing Bullying at Your School

Article excerpt

Health-related issues can put teens at risk of being bullied at school, recent studies show.

A survey of 361 teens at weight-loss camps showed that 64% of the adolescents said they had been bullied at school (Puhl, Peterson, and Luedicke 2013). "Peers (92%) and friends (70%) were the most commonly reported perpetrators, followed by physical education teachers/sport coaches (42%), parents (37%), and teachers (27%)." The abuse took several forms, according to the study: "verbal teasing (75%-88%), relational victimization (74%-82%), cyberbullying (59%-61%), and physical aggression (33%-61%)" (Puhl, Peterson, and Luedicke 2013, p. e1).

The study notes that "school personnel can play an important role in identifying and supporting youth who may be at risk for pervasive teasing and bullying" (Puhl, Peterson, and Luedicke 2013, p. e1).

Teens with food allergies are at risk of being bullied, too. Another study found that among 251 families with children ages 8 to 17 being treated at Mount Sinai's Food Allergy Institute, "31.5% of the children and 24.7% of the parents reported bullying specifically due to [food allergies], frequently including threats with foods, primarily by classmates" (Shemesh et al. 2013, p. e10).

Teens with diabetes; epilepsy; or other physical, mental, or emotional disabilities also are more frequent targets of bullies, says D'Arcy Lyness, PhD, a child and adolescent psychologist based in Wayne, Pa. In addition, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LBGT) youth face bullying more frequently than their heterosexual classmates, she says.

"The abuse that bullying victims experience can drain their self-esteem and interfere with their relationships," says Lyness, who is also a behavioral health editor for "In addition to anger, frustration, and depression, bullying can cause victims to have trouble eating, sleeping, and paying attention. All these things can affect a teen's academic performance."

A Duke University Medical Center study reveals that the effects of bullying can linger into adulthood (Copeland et al. 2013). Bullied kids and teens were more likely to have anxiety problems, panic disorder, and suicidal thoughts as adults, the study said.

And multiple school shootings, as widely reported, have had their roots in bullying.

Classroom activity

Teachers can help prevent bullying at their high schools by assigning students to make schoolwide assessments and recommendations. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.