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Bullying Effects


Children or teens who have been exposed to trauma and violence may be more likely to:

  • Bully others
  • Be more distressed by bullying or appear desensitized to bullying
  • Be the targets of bullying themselves

The relationship between trauma and bullying is complex. Being bullied can lead to traumatic stress reactions including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. For example, a 2012 study (Idsoe, Dyregov, & Idsoe, 2012) found that for all students who experienced bullying, 27.6% of boys and 40.5% of girls had PTSD scores within the clinical range. Symptoms were even worse for those students who both bullied others and had been the targets of bullying themselves.

Children who have experienced trauma are more likely to be bullied and to engage in bullying behavior. In some cases, children who experience trauma may develop social or interpersonal difficulties, making them more likely to become targets of bullying. Studies of Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, have found that children who report more ACEs are also more likely to exhibit bullying behavior (Sacks, et al., 2014).


Source: National Child Traumatic Stress Network (n.d.). Bullying Effects.