Bullying statistics and long-term effects

Bullying is occurring at alarming rates in the U.S. and the long-term effects of being bullied can be severe. Unfortunately, many adults are not aware that bullying is occurring with their child or their students.

According to a National Center for Education Statistics document, the definition of bullying includes a variety of actions, such as, “being made fun of; being the subject of rumors; being threatened with harm; being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; being pressured into doing things he/she did not want to do; being excluded; and having property destroyed on purpose,” (Dinkes, Kemp, & Baum, 2009, p. 40).

A large study conducted in 2007, comprised of 12- to 18-year old students in the U.S., revealed many eye-opening statistics. Based on these students’ self-reports:

  • 32% had been bullied at school during the school year
  • 63% had been bullied once or twice during the school year
  • 21% had been bullied once or twice a month
  • 10% were bullied once or twice a week
  • 7 % had been bullied almost daily
  • 79% were bullied inside a school
  • 4% had been cyber-bullied
  • 21% had been made fun of
  • 18% were subjects of rumors
  • 6% were threatened with harm
  • 5% were purposefully excluded from activities
  • 4 % said that someone tried to make them do things they did not want to do
  • 4% had their own property destroyed on purpose by someone else
  • 11% were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on, and 19% of these students were injured as a result of being pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on.

Interestingly, only 36% of students who were bullied notified a teacher or another adult at school about the event(s). Other longitudinal research concerning bullying shows that being bullied is related to poor mental health and self harm. Individuals who are bullied experience severe emotional consequences such as anxiety, passivity, academic problems, social deficits, and low self-esteem.

Based on these studies, it is clear that many children, ages 12-to-18 years, are being bullied and the majority of them are not telling adults about their experiences. To learn how you can help a child, read the information contained in subsequent posts within this blog. Bullying, regardless of where or how it occurs, has long-term consequences and must be stopped immediately.

Donna Donald

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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