Psych Central

Bullying Articles

Archive: Mean Girls Mean Chronic Disease

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

“Beating the Bully” will be taking a holiday break until January. I’ll be reposting some of the most popular articles from the past year until then. Happy holidays! 

mean girlYou may have seen my post on the long term health risks related to bullying  over the summer. A new study by Michael Murphy of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, has linked repeated experiences of teen rejection to a decrease in strength in one’s immune system.  The study focused on teen-aged girls and not surprisingly. While many students discuss bullying this type  - social rejection or what I’d call relational aggression - is most commonly reported among girls; I often call it the Mean Girls mentality when working with teens.


Archive: Bullying and Beer: The Relationship Between Bullying and Early Substance Use

Friday, January 4th, 2013

“Beating the Bully” will be taking a holiday break until January. I’ll be reposting some of the most popular articles from the past year until then. Happy holidays! 

Through the school-based substance abuse prevention work we offer at Freedom Institute  I constantly connect the dots bullying and substance abusebetween bullying and early substance use. How are two seemingly separate topics woven in together? Bullying behavior, like early substance use, can be viewed as a means for young people to gain social status, manage feelings, and indicate that a young person may need more parental attention. 

When I meet with students we discuss why young people may resort to either behavior (depending on the topic of the day) to get their emotional needs met. The we delineate together  what other, healthier, ways young people can get these needs met to prevent resorting to behavior that can harm themselves or others. As is the case with early substance use, bullying prevention efforts focus on increasing the already current protective factors in a young person’s life. 


Archive: How to Spot a Bully, a Tool for Educators and Mental Health Care Professionals

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

“Beating the Bully” will be taking a holiday break until January. I’ll be reposting some of the most popular articles from the past year until then. Happy holidays! 

If I had to identify the biggest challenge for those of us who work with young people is helping students identify bullying behavior and coming up with solutionsElsbeth Martindale, PsyD, has created a wonderful tool, How to Spot a Bully card deck. Dr. Martindale reached out to me (and was generous enough to send me a deck for my review). I was so impressed with How to Spot a Bully I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you. 


Archive: Say, “Ohm…” Yoga as a Means to Prevent Bullying

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

“Beating the Bully” will be taking a holiday break until January. I’ll be reposting some of the most popular articles from the past year until then. Happy holidays! 

As a yoga practitioner for 10 years I was delighted to read this post about yoga as a prevention tool against student violence. yoga and bullyingRob Schware interviewed Dee Marie, who founded, Calming Kids (CK): Creating a Non-Violent World. CK has run pilot groups to prove that yoga indeed can help young people!

A tenant of yoga that I learned early on in my practice was compassion - compassion for myself, for my fellow yogis in class and for my fellow man. Compassion – at least for me in yoga – comes in the form of understanding that if I cannot get into a certain position (asana) that’s ok, this is where I am today. A lack of compassion can look like forcing yourself into a pretzel-like position to only hurt yourself, or looking at another yogi critically in class wondering, “Why can she do it but I can’t!” I’ve found that without compassion in life or in yoga, the ability to accept where you are and who you are in this moment is difficult.


Bullying Changes Genes in Children

Monday, December 24th, 2012

bullying and genesI just posted about the blog’s holiday break but wanted to share one more thought provoking study recently released. New research from the University of Montreal published in the journal of Psychological Medicine shows that a young child’s genes are altered if they have experienced bullying. This study is just one of many released this year further supporting that bullying adversely affects one’s mind and body.

The lead author, Isabelle Ouellet-Morin, and her colleagues found that children who have been bullied had lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). In turn, that reduction changed the structure of a gene that regulates serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood regulation, among other things.


Bullying or Discipline?

Friday, December 7th, 2012

discipline or bullying?Two boys at Westwood High School in Mesa, AZ were caught fighting and sent to the Principal’s office. Nothing out of the ordinary so far, right? But how Principal Tim Richards disciplined them is out of the ordinary. The boys were given the option: be suspended or hold hands in the middle of the school campus at lunch time.

The boys choose to hold hands.

What ensued for the boys was about an hour of public humiliation. If you watch the linked news video, you can hear students laughing at them.


Share Your Story at the Ophelia Project Blog

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Ophelia projectI am a huge admirer of the  Ophelia Project and the work that they do. I  received an email from them announcing the launch of their new blog! I was excited to hear about the blog because the content is of stories of student’s experiences of relational aggression. The tag line to their blog is, “Because everyone deserves to feel safe and accepted.”

I conceptualize relational aggression as a different type of bullying. The Ophelia Project defines relational aggression as:

… behaviors that harm others by damaging, threatening to damage or manipulating one’s relationships with his/her peers, or by injuring one’s feelings of social acceptance.

For example:

  • Purposefully ignoring someone when angry (giving the “silent treatment”)
  • Spreading rumors about a disliked classmate
  • Telling others not to play with a certain classmate as a means of retaliation.

High School Quarterback Steps Up!

Friday, November 9th, 2012

football players and bullyingIt’s easy to focus only on tragic stories related to bullying (i.e. Amanda Todd’s death), giving parent more tips on how to keep their child safe or looking at how bullying has long term mental and physical health consequences. It’s also important to recognize that people are stepping up and changing our bullying culture! Personally, after a harrowing week post-Sandy and still experiencing the effects of the devastating storm, it was refreshing to find something optimistic to blog about this week.


How to Spot a Bully, a Tool for Educators and Mental Health Care Professionals

Friday, October 26th, 2012

If I had to identify the biggest challenge for those of us who work with young people is helping students identify bullying behavior and coming up with solutionsElsbeth Martindale, PsyD, has created a wonderful tool, How to Spot a Bully card deck. Dr. Martindale reached out to me (and was generous enough to send me a deck for my review). I was so impressed with How to Spot a Bully I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you. 


Mean Girls Mean Chronic Disease

Friday, October 19th, 2012

mean girlYou may have seen my post on the long term health risks related to bullying  over the summer. A new study by Michael Murphy of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, has linked repeated experiences of teen rejection to a decrease in strength in one’s immune system.  The study focused on teen-aged girls and not surprisingly. While many students discuss bullying this type  - social rejection or what I’d call relational aggression - is most commonly reported among girls; I often call it the Mean Girls mentality when working with teens.

Repeated experiences of being targeted can keep a person’s stress response system on high alert at all times. In this latest study, researchers point out that social rejection is particularly damaging:


 

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