The Short-Term Effects of Bullying

What Are the Immediate Effects of Bullying?

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The effects of bullying can be immediate and long-term. Victims often experience the following short-term effects of bullying.

Psychological Issues Are Common Effects of Bullying

Victims of bullying commonly demonstrate a number of psychological problems, particularly depression and anxiety. Girls may also develop eating disorders after or while being bullied. In addition, victimized children of both sexes may develop psychosomatic issues, which are bodily complaints that have no physical cause.

For instance, victims often suffer from headaches or stomachaches, particularly before the school day begins.

Effects of Bullying Include Problems With Sleep

Bully victims often have a range of sleep issues. They may have difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep and/or getting their needed rest ‚Äčon any given night. When victims are able to sleep, they are more likely to experience nightmares than their non-victimized peers. These nightmares tend to be vivid and menacing and may or may not involve the bully.

Victims of Bullying May Become Suicidal

Unfortunately, victims of bullying have higher rates of suicidality than their peers. This means that they think about committing suicide much more often than others their age. As many high-profile cases make clear, a number of victims follow through on these suicidal thoughts.

Effects of Bullying Include Problems With Peers

Victimized children also suffer from lower social status than non-victimized children.

Social exclusion may have lead to a child being victimized in the first place, but it seems that peer rejection gets even worse after a person is bullied. As a result, victims often feel lonely and abandoned and suffer from low self-esteem.

Issues At School Are Common Effects of Bullying

Bully victims tend to have problems with academic achievement.

This primarily occurs due to victims' frequent absenteeism. In fact, about 7% of American eighth-graders reporting staying home from school at least once a month to avoid being bullied. When victims do attend school, they tend to avoid certain parts of the school, such as the restrooms. About 20% of middle schoolers also report feeling scared all day at school, making learning difficult if not impossible.


Smokowski, Paul R., and Kopasz, Kelly Holland. Bullying in school: An overview of types, effects, family characteristics, and intervention strategies. 2005. Children & Schools. 27,2: 101-110.

Vanderbilt, Douglas, and Augustyn, Marilyn. The effects of bullying. 2010. Pediatrics and Child Health. 20,7: 315-320.

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