For bully victims, being targeted can result in increased suicide risk , depression, poor school performance and low self-esteem. But most studies on the effects of bullying focus on the childhood period. Copeland and his colleagues used data from a study begun 20 years ago, which queried 1, children and their parents about general mental health beginning ate age 9, 11 or The kids were assessed annually until age 16, and then they came back for follow-ups at ages 19, 21 and Before age 16, participants were asked whether they had been bullied or bullied others, how frequently, and where any bullying occurred, among other questions.
Five percent of the kids, or , were bullies only, and Another 4. The rest were neither. The researchers then looked at the mental health outcomes of each group in young adulthood, controlling for childhood factors such as pre-existing mental health conditions, struggles with home life and childhood anxiety levels. In most instances, the information will be from sources that have not been peer reviewed by scholarly or research communities. Please report cases in which the information is inaccurate through the Contact Us link below. Bullying scars : the impact on adult life and relationships DeLara, Ellen, author.
Subjects A limited number of items are shown. Click to view More Victims of bullying. Bullying -- Psychological aspects. It adopts a grounded theory approach [ 49 ], whereby the themes were allowed to emerge from interaction with the data. The data for this paper were drawn from several components of a larger study on cyberbullying at the post-secondary level, which included anonymous online surveys of undergraduate students and university faculty, in-person focus groups with undergraduate students, individual interviews with faculty members and university administrators at four participating Canadian universities from three provinces, as well as a policy scan of relevant policies at all Canadian universities.
Results from various parts of the larger study have been reported elsewhere [ 5 , 8 , 9 ].
Adversity in University: Cyberbullying and Its Impacts on Students, Faculty and Administrators
All participants gave their informed consent for inclusion before they participated in the study. The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, and the protocol was approved by the Office of Research Ethics at Simon Fraser University s approved 31 July Pseudonyms were used for all in-person components focus groups and interviews.
Participants were assured that researchers would not disclose any identifying information. In order to examine the impacts of cyberbullying, specific components of the broader study data were analyzed.
First, one of the open-ended questions in the student survey and two of the open-ended questions in the faculty survey were used. These questions asked respondents to provide an example of when they were cyberbullied, how it made them feel, what they tried to do to stop it, and what happened see exact wording of questions in Appendix A. Second, the focus groups and interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed and then coded using NVivo software version Lastly, the researchers found that participants in the focus groups and interviews frequently employed vocabulary related to violence in their descriptions of cyberbullying.
The coding process was iterative as the authors collaboratively established thematic codes based on their interaction with the data as well as their prior knowledge derived from the quantitative analysis of the survey data [ 8 , 9 , 35 ]. The second author then conducted an initial round of coding, which was verified by the first and third authors to ensure the presence of inter-rater reliability.
During this verification process, additional themes were added to the initial scheme based on further analysis of the data. A second round of coding was then conducted, taking into account the clarifications made in the first round as well as the additional themes that had emerged. A third and final round of coding was conducted to ensure all themes had been captured and that the three researchers were in agreement. The analysis of the various data sources related to the overarching theme of impacts led to the development of several sub-themes.
The quotations selected for reporting below are exemplars, which reflect the dominant responses. Although the data from students, faculty and administrators were analyzed separately, the researchers noted substantial overlap in the types of impacts raised by each group. As such, the data from students, faculty and administrators are discussed globally here, with an occasional reference made to specific distinctions that surfaced between the groups. The first sub-theme was negative affect; these references permeated all of the data sources.
The negative emotions elicited by cyberbullying covered quite a range, from feeling sad, hurt, embarrassed, angry, humiliated, isolated, marginalized, and powerless, to wanting to retaliate and get revenge. Many talked about prolonged periods of crying, and being very upset, emotional, choked, crushed, wounded, and just feeling awful.
I just collapsed. Participants talked about feeling shaky, raw, irritable, and emotionally vulnerable. Another student wrote:. I was cyber-bullied by someone that was anonymous, on a blog website … It made me feel very emotional and upset, because the website is public and can be viewed by anyone. This anonymous person had posted pictures of me and written comments below the pictures that were mean and not true. Student was not open to feedback. Several faculty members were upset with the anonymous messages from students posted on external professor-rating websites and frustrated by the fact that they were not able to get these removed by site administrators.
As one professor stated:. I know there are cruel and disparaging remarks posted about me on ratemyprofessor.
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How is this not libel? Although a few respondents mentioned retaliation or revenge, it was more common for them to say that it left them feeling powerless in the situation. Some said they did not know how to respond, while others said that responding made things worse. I was sent lots of text messages from an individual who believed I had been gossiping about her. She was threatening, and told me to fix the problem I had caused.
6 Ways That a Rough Childhood Can Affect Adult Relationships | Psychology Today South Africa
She texted me 73 times in one day, and over a week it was about messages. Several pre-tenured professors commented about being cyberbullied by senior colleagues. In addition to the negative affect brought on by the experiences of cyberbullying, some faculty and student participants discussed more generalized mental health impacts, including stress, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Another student described being attacked, impersonated, and threatened by an anonymous person in an online forum.
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The student eventually changed his email and all online accounts. He wrote:. The effort was a lot, but as a result I managed to dissociate the old from the new, and no further harassment continued. No crowds, forum members targeted me nor was my identity compromised, so I was lucky.
Childhood bullying may lead to social, health issues in adulthood
Despite that, the fears of being attacked in such a manner and knowing the true realistic sense of what could possibly have happened was unnerving and stressful enough for me that time that it affected me quite a lot that time. Participants also discussed feeling anxious and worried about re-occurrence. One professor, for example, talked about negative email messages being circulated throughout her department, where senior faculty members would belittle and intimidate junior faculty members to get their way.
Responding to those emails consumes a lot of time and mental energy as well as generating anxiety about the next message that will come back, as noted by this respondent:. Yeah, the next wave to come and hit you. Both students and faculty members mentioned panic attacks brought on by the cyberbullying situation. For others, the stress and distress of the cyberbullying led to depression and, in some cases, to suicidal thoughts. The bully wrote a status telling me I should kill myself and that I was ugly.
It affects my mental health, I felt very depressed. A friend called me fat and told me i should just forget about finding anyone to love me. This made me feel really sad and suicidal, but I just tried to ignore it and continue with school and eventually I recovered by the help of my true friends who I have known for some years. But those DID make me feel suicidal, depressed, like it was ruining my friendships inside and outside of school.
Multiple respondents sought counselling to address their depression and suicidal thoughts stemming from their cyberbullying experiences. One faculty respondent, who had been serving her university as an administrator, described falling into a deep depression and requiring 18 months of counselling due to a campaign by a group of colleagues to have her removed from her administrator role. Physical health impacts were another category of impacts discussed by participants. When I finally stood up for myself, he threatened me almost every day, sending fake e-mails and he even tried to impersonate me and tell the police that I was sending him and his family nasty e-mails and phone calls … I had panic attacks every day and I lost a significant amount of weight.
I still bear the scars that he left me, physically and emotionally. If the Dean had acted on the request of the faculty member a while ago, he would be in a much better mind set right now.
Further, as one professor explained, sometimes there are mechanisms within the university that inadvertently enable cyberbullying and its damaging effects to occur:. The fourth sub-theme in terms of the impacts of cyberbullying pertains to perceptions of self. While a few commented that they started blaming themselves for what had happened, the more prevalent response was that they began to believe what the cyberbullies said about them and developed inadequacies as a result.
This impacted their personal and professional lives. As one student wrote:. I am a male and was placed in work team, which included another female student.
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Several messages were sent to me by this student, which made me feel as though I am inept at interacting with women. It was also implied by her communications to me that there is something pathological about being a year-old male who has never had a girlfriend. Overall, these communications made my confidence in interacting with women regress significantly, something I have struggled with since my teens.
Student was rude and demeaning regarding an issue in the course for failure to hand in an assignment and thus subsequent grade. The Tutor-marker for our class was repeatedly rude in her comments to students in the online class, and I felt like some of her comments were demeaning. Further, some students reported that their self-image had been affected by the cyberbullying they experienced.
My ex-boyfriend said hurtful things to me against my personality and the way I look. Even though I asked him to stop he would not stop As one focus group participant explained, it can be difficult to move past negative comments, even when you want to believe they are not true. The repetitive aspect of seeing the message time and time again on the internet serves to reinforce this interpretation.
And even if it gets taken down in a day, you will, if you saw it, it will still eat away at your soul kind of thing. Several discussed avoiding certain people, places, social media sites, and activities as a result of being cyberbullied, as well as its influence on their relationships. This avoidance in described in these two examples:. I have deleted all contact I have with the cyberbully and avoid him at all costs. I have had to drop several other extra-curricular activities because he was involved in them.
I was angry with myself for believing she was a good person, for being vulnerable and inadvertently giving her ammo with which to attack me.
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