• Research article
  • Open access
  • Published: 14 December 2021

Bullying at school and mental health problems among adolescents: a repeated cross-sectional study

  • Håkan Källmén 1 &
  • Mats Hallgren   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-0599-2403 2  

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health volume  15 , Article number:  74 ( 2021 ) Cite this article

85k Accesses

12 Citations

30 Altmetric

Metrics details

To examine recent trends in bullying and mental health problems among adolescents and the association between them.

A questionnaire measuring mental health problems, bullying at school, socio-economic status, and the school environment was distributed to all secondary school students aged 15 (school-year 9) and 18 (school-year 11) in Stockholm during 2014, 2018, and 2020 (n = 32,722). Associations between bullying and mental health problems were assessed using logistic regression analyses adjusting for relevant demographic, socio-economic, and school-related factors.

The prevalence of bullying remained stable and was highest among girls in year 9; range = 4.9% to 16.9%. Mental health problems increased; range = + 1.2% (year 9 boys) to + 4.6% (year 11 girls) and were consistently higher among girls (17.2% in year 11, 2020). In adjusted models, having been bullied was detrimentally associated with mental health (OR = 2.57 [2.24–2.96]). Reports of mental health problems were four times higher among boys who had been bullied compared to those not bullied. The corresponding figure for girls was 2.4 times higher.


Exposure to bullying at school was associated with higher odds of mental health problems. Boys appear to be more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of bullying than girls.


Bullying involves repeated hurtful actions between peers where an imbalance of power exists [ 1 ]. Arseneault et al. [ 2 ] conducted a review of the mental health consequences of bullying for children and adolescents and found that bullying is associated with severe symptoms of mental health problems, including self-harm and suicidality. Bullying was shown to have detrimental effects that persist into late adolescence and contribute independently to mental health problems. Updated reviews have presented evidence indicating that bullying is causative of mental illness in many adolescents [ 3 , 4 ].

There are indications that mental health problems are increasing among adolescents in some Nordic countries. Hagquist et al. [ 5 ] examined trends in mental health among Scandinavian adolescents (n = 116, 531) aged 11–15 years between 1993 and 2014. Mental health problems were operationalized as difficulty concentrating, sleep disorders, headache, stomach pain, feeling tense, sad and/or dizzy. The study revealed increasing rates of adolescent mental health problems in all four counties (Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark), with Sweden experiencing the sharpest increase among older adolescents, particularly girls. Worsening adolescent mental health has also been reported in the United Kingdom. A study of 28,100 school-aged adolescents in England found that two out of five young people scored above thresholds for emotional problems, conduct problems or hyperactivity [ 6 ]. Female gender, deprivation, high needs status (educational/social), ethnic background, and older age were all associated with higher odds of experiencing mental health difficulties.

Bullying is shown to increase the risk of poor mental health and may partly explain these detrimental changes. Le et al. [ 7 ] reported an inverse association between bullying and mental health among 11–16-year-olds in Vietnam. They also found that poor mental health can make some children and adolescents more vulnerable to bullying at school. Bayer et al. [ 8 ] examined links between bullying at school and mental health among 8–9-year-old children in Australia. Those who experienced bullying more than once a week had poorer mental health than children who experienced bullying less frequently. Friendships moderated this association, such that children with more friends experienced fewer mental health problems (protective effect). Hysing et al. [ 9 ] investigated the association between experiences of bullying (as a victim or perpetrator) and mental health, sleep disorders, and school performance among 16–19 year olds from Norway (n = 10,200). Participants were categorized as victims, bullies, or bully-victims (that is, victims who also bullied others). All three categories were associated with worse mental health, school performance, and sleeping difficulties. Those who had been bullied also reported more emotional problems, while those who bullied others reported more conduct disorders [ 9 ].

As most adolescents spend a considerable amount of time at school, the school environment has been a major focus of mental health research [ 10 , 11 ]. In a recent review, Saminathen et al. [ 12 ] concluded that school is a potential protective factor against mental health problems, as it provides a socially supportive context and prepares students for higher education and employment. However, it may also be the primary setting for protracted bullying and stress [ 13 ]. Another factor associated with adolescent mental health is parental socio-economic status (SES) [ 14 ]. A systematic review indicated that lower parental SES is associated with poorer adolescent mental health [ 15 ]. However, no previous studies have examined whether SES modifies or attenuates the association between bullying and mental health. Similarly, it remains unclear whether school related factors, such as school grades and the school environment, influence the relationship between bullying and mental health. This information could help to identify those adolescents most at risk of harm from bullying.

To address these issues, we investigated the prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems among Swedish adolescents aged 15–18 years between 2014 and 2020 using a population-based school survey. We also examined associations between bullying at school and mental health problems adjusting for relevant demographic, socioeconomic, and school-related factors. We hypothesized that: (1) bullying and adolescent mental health problems have increased over time; (2) There is an association between bullying victimization and mental health, so that mental health problems are more prevalent among those who have been victims of bullying; and (3) that school-related factors would attenuate the association between bullying and mental health.


The Stockholm school survey is completed every other year by students in lower secondary school (year 9—compulsory) and upper secondary school (year 11). The survey is mandatory for public schools, but voluntary for private schools. The purpose of the survey is to help inform decision making by local authorities that will ultimately improve students’ wellbeing. The questions relate to life circumstances, including SES, schoolwork, bullying, drug use, health, and crime. Non-completers are those who were absent from school when the survey was completed (< 5%). Response rates vary from year to year but are typically around 75%. For the current study data were available for 2014, 2018 and 2020. In 2014; 5235 boys and 5761 girls responded, in 2018; 5017 boys and 5211 girls responded, and in 2020; 5633 boys and 5865 girls responded (total n = 32,722). Data for the exposure variable, bullied at school, were missing for 4159 students, leaving 28,563 participants in the crude model. The fully adjusted model (described below) included 15,985 participants. The mean age in grade 9 was 15.3 years (SD = 0.51) and in grade 11, 17.3 years (SD = 0.61). As the data are completely anonymous, the study was exempt from ethical approval according to an earlier decision from the Ethical Review Board in Stockholm (2010-241 31-5). Details of the survey are available via a website [ 16 ], and are described in a previous paper [ 17 ].

Students completed the questionnaire during a school lesson, placed it in a sealed envelope and handed it to their teacher. Student were permitted the entire lesson (about 40 min) to complete the questionnaire and were informed that participation was voluntary (and that they were free to cancel their participation at any time without consequences). Students were also informed that the Origo Group was responsible for collection of the data on behalf of the City of Stockholm.

Study outcome

Mental health problems were assessed by using a modified version of the Psychosomatic Problem Scale [ 18 ] shown to be appropriate for children and adolescents and invariant across gender and years. The scale was later modified [ 19 ]. In the modified version, items about difficulty concentrating and feeling giddy were deleted and an item about ‘life being great to live’ was added. Seven different symptoms or problems, such as headaches, depression, feeling fear, stomach problems, difficulty sleeping, believing it’s great to live (coded negatively as seldom or rarely) and poor appetite were used. Students who responded (on a 5-point scale) that any of these problems typically occurs ‘at least once a week’ were considered as having indicators of a mental health problem. Cronbach alpha was 0.69 across the whole sample. Adding these problem areas, a total index was created from 0 to 7 mental health symptoms. Those who scored between 0 and 4 points on the total symptoms index were considered to have a low indication of mental health problems (coded as 0); those who scored between 5 and 7 symptoms were considered as likely having mental health problems (coded as 1).

Primary exposure

Experiences of bullying were measured by the following two questions: Have you felt bullied or harassed during the past school year? Have you been involved in bullying or harassing other students during this school year? Alternatives for the first question were: yes or no with several options describing how the bullying had taken place (if yes). Alternatives indicating emotional bullying were feelings of being mocked, ridiculed, socially excluded, or teased. Alternatives indicating physical bullying were being beaten, kicked, forced to do something against their will, robbed, or locked away somewhere. The response alternatives for the second question gave an estimation of how often the respondent had participated in bullying others (from once to several times a week). Combining the answers to these two questions, five different categories of bullying were identified: (1) never been bullied and never bully others; (2) victims of emotional (verbal) bullying who have never bullied others; (3) victims of physical bullying who have never bullied others; (4) victims of bullying who have also bullied others; and (5) perpetrators of bullying, but not victims. As the number of positive cases in the last three categories was low (range = 3–15 cases) bully categories 2–4 were combined into one primary exposure variable: ‘bullied at school’.

Assessment year was operationalized as the year when data was collected: 2014, 2018, and 2020. Age was operationalized as school grade 9 (15–16 years) or 11 (17–18 years). Gender was self-reported (boy or girl). The school situation To assess experiences of the school situation, students responded to 18 statements about well-being in school, participation in important school matters, perceptions of their teachers, and teaching quality. Responses were given on a four-point Likert scale ranging from ‘do not agree at all’ to ‘fully agree’. To reduce the 18-items down to their essential factors, we performed a principal axis factor analysis. Results showed that the 18 statements formed five factors which, according to the Kaiser criterion (eigen values > 1) explained 56% of the covariance in the student’s experience of the school situation. The five factors identified were: (1) Participation in school; (2) Interesting and meaningful work; (3) Feeling well at school; (4) Structured school lessons; and (5) Praise for achievements. For each factor, an index was created that was dichotomised (poor versus good circumstance) using the median-split and dummy coded with ‘good circumstance’ as reference. A description of the items included in each factor is available as Additional file 1 . Socio-economic status (SES) was assessed with three questions about the education level of the student’s mother and father (dichotomized as university degree versus not), and the amount of spending money the student typically received for entertainment each month (> SEK 1000 [approximately $120] versus less). Higher parental education and more spending money were used as reference categories. School grades in Swedish, English, and mathematics were measured separately on a 7-point scale and dichotomized as high (grades A, B, and C) versus low (grades D, E, and F). High school grades were used as the reference category.

Statistical analyses

The prevalence of mental health problems and bullying at school are presented using descriptive statistics, stratified by survey year (2014, 2018, 2020), gender, and school year (9 versus 11). As noted, we reduced the 18-item questionnaire assessing school function down to five essential factors by conducting a principal axis factor analysis (see Additional file 1 ). We then calculated the association between bullying at school (defined above) and mental health problems using multivariable logistic regression. Results are presented as odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (Cis). To assess the contribution of SES and school-related factors to this association, three models are presented: Crude, Model 1 adjusted for demographic factors: age, gender, and assessment year; Model 2 adjusted for Model 1 plus SES (parental education and student spending money), and Model 3 adjusted for Model 2 plus school-related factors (school grades and the five factors identified in the principal factor analysis). These covariates were entered into the regression models in three blocks, where the final model represents the fully adjusted analyses. In all models, the category ‘not bullied at school’ was used as the reference. Pseudo R-square was calculated to estimate what proportion of the variance in mental health problems was explained by each model. Unlike the R-square statistic derived from linear regression, the Pseudo R-square statistic derived from logistic regression gives an indicator of the explained variance, as opposed to an exact estimate, and is considered informative in identifying the relative contribution of each model to the outcome [ 20 ]. All analyses were performed using SPSS v. 26.0.

Prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems

Estimates of the prevalence of bullying at school and mental health problems across the 12 strata of data (3 years × 2 school grades × 2 genders) are shown in Table 1 . The prevalence of bullying at school increased minimally (< 1%) between 2014 and 2020, except among girls in grade 11 (2.5% increase). Mental health problems increased between 2014 and 2020 (range = 1.2% [boys in year 11] to 4.6% [girls in year 11]); were three to four times more prevalent among girls (range = 11.6% to 17.2%) compared to boys (range = 2.6% to 4.9%); and were more prevalent among older adolescents compared to younger adolescents (range = 1% to 3.1% higher). Pooling all data, reports of mental health problems were four times more prevalent among boys who had been victims of bullying compared to those who reported no experiences with bullying. The corresponding figure for girls was two and a half times as prevalent.

Associations between bullying at school and mental health problems

Table 2 shows the association between bullying at school and mental health problems after adjustment for relevant covariates. Demographic factors, including female gender (OR = 3.87; CI 3.48–4.29), older age (OR = 1.38, CI 1.26–1.50), and more recent assessment year (OR = 1.18, CI 1.13–1.25) were associated with higher odds of mental health problems. In Model 2, none of the included SES variables (parental education and student spending money) were associated with mental health problems. In Model 3 (fully adjusted), the following school-related factors were associated with higher odds of mental health problems: lower grades in Swedish (OR = 1.42, CI 1.22–1.67); uninteresting or meaningless schoolwork (OR = 2.44, CI 2.13–2.78); feeling unwell at school (OR = 1.64, CI 1.34–1.85); unstructured school lessons (OR = 1.31, CI = 1.16–1.47); and no praise for achievements (OR = 1.19, CI 1.06–1.34). After adjustment for all covariates, being bullied at school remained associated with higher odds of mental health problems (OR = 2.57; CI 2.24–2.96). Demographic and school-related factors explained 12% and 6% of the variance in mental health problems, respectively (Pseudo R-Square). The inclusion of socioeconomic factors did not alter the variance explained.

Our findings indicate that mental health problems increased among Swedish adolescents between 2014 and 2020, while the prevalence of bullying at school remained stable (< 1% increase), except among girls in year 11, where the prevalence increased by 2.5%. As previously reported [ 5 , 6 ], mental health problems were more common among girls and older adolescents. These findings align with previous studies showing that adolescents who are bullied at school are more likely to experience mental health problems compared to those who are not bullied [ 3 , 4 , 9 ]. This detrimental relationship was observed after adjustment for school-related factors shown to be associated with adolescent mental health [ 10 ].

A novel finding was that boys who had been bullied at school reported a four-times higher prevalence of mental health problems compared to non-bullied boys. The corresponding figure for girls was 2.5 times higher for those who were bullied compared to non-bullied girls, which could indicate that boys are more vulnerable to the deleterious effects of bullying than girls. Alternatively, it may indicate that boys are (on average) bullied more frequently or more intensely than girls, leading to worse mental health. Social support could also play a role; adolescent girls often have stronger social networks than boys and could be more inclined to voice concerns about bullying to significant others, who in turn may offer supports which are protective [ 21 ]. Related studies partly confirm this speculative explanation. An Estonian study involving 2048 children and adolescents aged 10–16 years found that, compared to girls, boys who had been bullied were more likely to report severe distress, measured by poor mental health and feelings of hopelessness [ 22 ].

Other studies suggest that heritable traits, such as the tendency to internalize problems and having low self-esteem are associated with being a bully-victim [ 23 ]. Genetics are understood to explain a large proportion of bullying-related behaviors among adolescents. A study from the Netherlands involving 8215 primary school children found that genetics explained approximately 65% of the risk of being a bully-victim [ 24 ]. This proportion was similar for boys and girls. Higher than average body mass index (BMI) is another recognized risk factor [ 25 ]. A recent Australian trial involving 13 schools and 1087 students (mean age = 13 years) targeted adolescents with high-risk personality traits (hopelessness, anxiety sensitivity, impulsivity, sensation seeking) to reduce bullying at school; both as victims and perpetrators [ 26 ]. There was no significant intervention effect for bullying victimization or perpetration in the total sample. In a secondary analysis, compared to the control schools, intervention school students showed greater reductions in victimization, suicidal ideation, and emotional symptoms. These findings potentially support targeting high-risk personality traits in bullying prevention [ 26 ].

The relative stability of bullying at school between 2014 and 2020 suggests that other factors may better explain the increase in mental health problems seen here. Many factors could be contributing to these changes, including the increasingly competitive labour market, higher demands for education, and the rapid expansion of social media [ 19 , 27 , 28 ]. A recent Swedish study involving 29,199 students aged between 11 and 16 years found that the effects of school stress on psychosomatic symptoms have become stronger over time (1993–2017) and have increased more among girls than among boys [ 10 ]. Research is needed examining possible gender differences in perceived school stress and how these differences moderate associations between bullying and mental health.

Strengths and limitations

Strengths of the current study include the large participant sample from diverse schools; public and private, theoretical and practical orientations. The survey included items measuring diverse aspects of the school environment; factors previously linked to adolescent mental health but rarely included as covariates in studies of bullying and mental health. Some limitations are also acknowledged. These data are cross-sectional which means that the direction of the associations cannot be determined. Moreover, all the variables measured were self-reported. Previous studies indicate that students tend to under-report bullying and mental health problems [ 29 ]; thus, our results may underestimate the prevalence of these behaviors.

In conclusion, consistent with our stated hypotheses, we observed an increase in self-reported mental health problems among Swedish adolescents, and a detrimental association between bullying at school and mental health problems. Although bullying at school does not appear to be the primary explanation for these changes, bullying was detrimentally associated with mental health after adjustment for relevant demographic, socio-economic, and school-related factors, confirming our third hypothesis. The finding that boys are potentially more vulnerable than girls to the deleterious effects of bullying should be replicated in future studies, and the mechanisms investigated. Future studies should examine the longitudinal association between bullying and mental health, including which factors mediate/moderate this relationship. Epigenetic studies are also required to better understand the complex interaction between environmental and biological risk factors for adolescent mental health [ 24 ].

Availability of data and materials

Data requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis; please email the corresponding author.

Code availability

Not applicable.

Olweus D. School bullying: development and some important challenges. Ann Rev Clin Psychol. 2013;9(9):751–80. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-050212-185516 .

Article   Google Scholar  

Arseneault L, Bowes L, Shakoor S. Bullying victimization in youths and mental health problems: “Much ado about nothing”? Psychol Med. 2010;40(5):717–29. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291709991383 .

Article   CAS   PubMed   Google Scholar  

Arseneault L. The long-term impact of bullying victimization on mental health. World Psychiatry. 2017;16(1):27–8. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20399 .

Article   PubMed   PubMed Central   Google Scholar  

Moore SE, Norman RE, Suetani S, Thomas HJ, Sly PD, Scott JG. Consequences of bullying victimization in childhood and adolescence: a systematic review and meta-analysis. World J Psychiatry. 2017;7(1):60–76. https://doi.org/10.5498/wjp.v7.i1.60 .

Hagquist C, Due P, Torsheim T, Valimaa R. Cross-country comparisons of trends in adolescent psychosomatic symptoms—a Rasch analysis of HBSC data from four Nordic countries. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2019;17(1):27. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12955-019-1097-x .

Deighton J, Lereya ST, Casey P, Patalay P, Humphrey N, Wolpert M. Prevalence of mental health problems in schools: poverty and other risk factors among 28 000 adolescents in England. Br J Psychiatry. 2019;215(3):565–7. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2019.19 .

Article   PubMed Central   Google Scholar  

Le HTH, Tran N, Campbell MA, Gatton ML, Nguyen HT, Dunne MP. Mental health problems both precede and follow bullying among adolescents and the effects differ by gender: a cross-lagged panel analysis of school-based longitudinal data in Vietnam. Int J Ment Health Syst. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13033-019-0291-x .

Bayer JK, Mundy L, Stokes I, Hearps S, Allen N, Patton G. Bullying, mental health and friendship in Australian primary school children. Child Adolesc Ment Health. 2018;23(4):334–40. https://doi.org/10.1111/camh.12261 .

Article   PubMed   Google Scholar  

Hysing M, Askeland KG, La Greca AM, Solberg ME, Breivik K, Sivertsen B. Bullying involvement in adolescence: implications for sleep, mental health, and academic outcomes. J Interpers Violence. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260519853409 .

Hogberg B, Strandh M, Hagquist C. Gender and secular trends in adolescent mental health over 24 years—the role of school-related stress. Soc Sci Med. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112890 .

Kidger J, Araya R, Donovan J, Gunnell D. The effect of the school environment on the emotional health of adolescents: a systematic review. Pediatrics. 2012;129(5):925–49. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2011-2248 .

Saminathen MG, Låftman SB, Modin B. En fungerande skola för alla: skolmiljön som skyddsfaktor för ungas psykiska välbefinnande. [A functioning school for all: the school environment as a protective factor for young people’s mental well-being]. Socialmedicinsk tidskrift [Soc Med]. 2020;97(5–6):804–16.

Google Scholar  

Bibou-Nakou I, Tsiantis J, Assimopoulos H, Chatzilambou P, Giannakopoulou D. School factors related to bullying: a qualitative study of early adolescent students. Soc Psychol Educ. 2012;15(2):125–45. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-012-9179-1 .

Vukojevic M, Zovko A, Talic I, Tanovic M, Resic B, Vrdoljak I, Splavski B. Parental socioeconomic status as a predictor of physical and mental health outcomes in children—literature review. Acta Clin Croat. 2017;56(4):742–8. https://doi.org/10.20471/acc.2017.56.04.23 .

Reiss F. Socioeconomic inequalities and mental health problems in children and adolescents: a systematic review. Soc Sci Med. 2013;90:24–31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.04.026 .

Stockholm City. Stockholmsenkät (The Stockholm Student Survey). 2021. https://start.stockholm/aktuellt/nyheter/2020/09/presstraff-stockholmsenkaten-2020/ . Accessed 19 Nov 2021.

Zeebari Z, Lundin A, Dickman PW, Hallgren M. Are changes in alcohol consumption among swedish youth really occurring “in concert”? A new perspective using quantile regression. Alc Alcohol. 2017;52(4):487–95. https://doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agx020 .

Hagquist C. Psychometric properties of the PsychoSomatic Problems Scale: a Rasch analysis on adolescent data. Social Indicat Res. 2008;86(3):511–23. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-007-9186-3 .

Hagquist C. Ungas psykiska hälsa i Sverige–komplexa trender och stora kunskapsluckor [Young people’s mental health in Sweden—complex trends and large knowledge gaps]. Socialmedicinsk tidskrift [Soc Med]. 2013;90(5):671–83.

Wu W, West SG. Detecting misspecification in mean structures for growth curve models: performance of pseudo R(2)s and concordance correlation coefficients. Struct Equ Model. 2013;20(3):455–78. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705511.2013.797829 .

Holt MK, Espelage DL. Perceived social support among bullies, victims, and bully-victims. J Youth Adolscence. 2007;36(8):984–94. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-006-9153-3 .

Mark L, Varnik A, Sisask M. Who suffers most from being involved in bullying-bully, victim, or bully-victim? J Sch Health. 2019;89(2):136–44. https://doi.org/10.1111/josh.12720 .

Tsaousis I. The relationship of self-esteem to bullying perpetration and peer victimization among schoolchildren and adolescents: a meta-analytic review. Aggress Violent Behav. 2016;31:186–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2016.09.005 .

Veldkamp SAM, Boomsma DI, de Zeeuw EL, van Beijsterveldt CEM, Bartels M, Dolan CV, van Bergen E. Genetic and environmental influences on different forms of bullying perpetration, bullying victimization, and their co-occurrence. Behav Genet. 2019;49(5):432–43. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-019-09968-5 .

Janssen I, Craig WM, Boyce WF, Pickett W. Associations between overweight and obesity with bullying behaviors in school-aged children. Pediatrics. 2004;113(5):1187–94. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.113.5.1187 .

Kelly EV, Newton NC, Stapinski LA, Conrod PJ, Barrett EL, Champion KE, Teesson M. A novel approach to tackling bullying in schools: personality-targeted intervention for adolescent victims and bullies in Australia. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2020;59(4):508. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2019.04.010 .

Gunnell D, Kidger J, Elvidge H. Adolescent mental health in crisis. BMJ. 2018. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2608 .

O’Reilly M, Dogra N, Whiteman N, Hughes J, Eruyar S, Reilly P. Is social media bad for mental health and wellbeing? Exploring the perspectives of adolescents. Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2018;23:601–13.

Unnever JD, Cornell DG. Middle school victims of bullying: who reports being bullied? Aggr Behav. 2004;30(5):373–88. https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.20030 .

Download references


Authors are grateful to the Department for Social Affairs, Stockholm, for permission to use data from the Stockholm School Survey.

Open access funding provided by Karolinska Institute. None to declare.

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Stockholm Prevents Alcohol and Drug Problems (STAD), Center for Addiction Research and Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden

Håkan Källmén

Epidemiology of Psychiatric Conditions, Substance Use and Social Environment (EPiCSS), Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet, Level 6, Solnavägen 1e, Solna, Sweden

Mats Hallgren

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar


HK conceived the study and analyzed the data (with input from MH). HK and MH interpreted the data and jointly wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mats Hallgren .

Ethics declarations

Ethics approval and consent to participate.

As the data are completely anonymous, the study was exempt from ethical approval according to an earlier decision from the Ethical Review Board in Stockholm (2010-241 31-5).

Consent for publication

Competing interests.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher's note.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary Information

Additional file 1..

Principal factor analysis description.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ . The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ ) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article.

Källmén, H., Hallgren, M. Bullying at school and mental health problems among adolescents: a repeated cross-sectional study. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health 15 , 74 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-021-00425-y

Download citation

Received : 05 October 2021

Accepted : 23 November 2021

Published : 14 December 2021

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-021-00425-y

Share this article

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Mental health
  • Adolescents
  • School-related factors
  • Gender differences

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health

ISSN: 1753-2000

case study essay about bullying

  • Armenia response
  • Gaza response

Europe and Central Asia

  • High contrast
  • Press centre

Europe and Central Asia


Snezana’s story: from being bullied to ending conflicts at school, peer mediators in kosovo (scr 1244) help keep school safe for everyone.

Snezana Dzogovic, 16, poses for a portrait at the Peer Mediation Center of Domovik NGO, in Mitrovica North.

MITROVICA, Kosovo (SCR 1244), 6 September, 2018 - Sixteen-year-old Snezana Dzogovic vividly remembers when her classmates started to bully her. She was in sixth grade at her school in Mitrovica, northern Kosovo (SCR 1244).

“I went ‘into’ myself and did not talk to anyone about it.  I started avoiding school.  My grades fell because I did not go to school. I could not study at home,” she says.

Snezana says the bullying started when she began listening to rock music and dressing differently than the other girls. She liked bands like Nirvana and Guns n’ Roses and she cut her hair short.

Verbal and physical abuse followed. Her classmates would damage her belongings when she wasn’t looking.

One day Snezana came home with her backpack and books ripped and her mother asked her what had happened.

“When I started to talk, my mother felt shocked and embarrassed that I had not shared it before. My mother went to school and spoke to the class teacher, but she (the teacher) avoided resolving the issue,” says Snezana.

Snezana, and her fellow peer mediators simulate a bullying case at the Branko Radicevic School in Mitrovica North, Kosovo (SCR 1244).  The group is organized by UNICEF and partner organization DOMOVIK as part of a school-based violence prevention programme. The peer mediators are student volunteers who are trained to resolve conflict at school – often cases of bullying and psychological abuse.

Violence, an everyday lesson for millions

According to a new report released by UNICEF today, Violence in Schools: An Everyday Lesson , peer violence, defined as the number of children who report having been bullied in the last month or having been involved in a physical fight in the last year – is a pervasive part of young people’s education around the world.

The report finds that approximately half of all students aged 13 to 15 – 150 million girls and boys – experience peer-violence. This violence exists in every region of the world and in every community.

The report explains that the effects of peer to peer violence are unacceptably high on individual young people as well as society as a whole. Violence decreases self-esteem, reduces attendance, lowers grades and leads many children to drop out of school completely.

Snezana, and her fellow peer mediators simulate a bullying case at the Branko Radicevic School in Mitrovica North, Kosovo (SCR 1244).

From being bullied to mediating conflicts

Snezana explains that during the time she was being bullied, a new group of peer mediators were brought into her school. She had never heard about the group and was admittedly skeptical.

“At first I did not feel comfortable.  I thought it was yet another group that would bully me,” she said.

But this group was different.

The group is organized by UNICEF and partner organization in Kosovo (SCR 1244) DOMOVIK as part of a school-based violence prevention programme. The peer mediators are student volunteers who are trained to resolve conflict at school – often cases of bullying and psychological abuse. They are also trained to refer more serious cases of violence to appropriate officials, including social welfare authorities and the police.

The peer mediators work with school administrators, teachers, the student council as well as psychologists and education specialists.

Snezana decided to join the group. During the first year of being a peer mediator the bullying she was experiencing stopped. She also brought positive changes into other student’s lives. 

“When I joined, I found it to be a wonderful group and started to work on myself,” she says.  “I now put in extra effort when I see a child being bullied, and also suggest the child to join the peer mediation team.”

Snezana (on the left, in a yellow shirt) and her fellow peer mediators meet at the Peer Mediation Center of Domovik NGO, in Mitrovica North Kosovo (SCR 1244). UNICEF estimates approximately half of all students aged 13 to 15 globally – 150 million girls and boys – experience peer-violence. The peer mediators are student volunteers who are trained to resolve conflict at school – often cases of bullying and psychological abuse.

Over the last five years Snezana has helped end approximately 50 school-based conflicts or cases of bullying. She recalls one particular instance when she convinced two boys who had been fighting that physical conflict would not help.  She explains that she approached the situation as a friend, wanting to listen to both of the boys. 

“That is how it was resolved,” she says.

Another important part of Snezana and the other peer mediator’s work is visiting neighbouring schools and re-enacting cases of bullying. During the reenactments, students learn how to identify bullying and resolve conflict. 

So far, the peer mediation programme has benefitted at least 15,000 students in Kosovo (SCR 1244).

Snezana will never forget the pain of being targeted by bullies, but she says she has moved on.

“I decided to let them know that I was equal to them,” she says about the kids who used to bully her.  “At the end of the day I forgive them because they were children.”

Related topics

More to explore.

City of Bratislava, Eurocities and UNICEF call for continued solidarity and support for Ukrainian refugees as war persists

“I realised that I am feeling climate change every day”

21-year-old Maja Ibričić, a passionate activist and youth advocate from Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the importance of engaging young people in climate action

UNICEF Refugee Response

UNICEF Refugee Response in the Czech Republic: Initial Results and Priorities

Children learn about diversity with the help of puppets

Persona Doll method uses a puppet as a mediator between children and teachers, as part of the EU Child Guarantee pilot-programme.

To read this content please select one of the options below:

Please note you do not have access to teaching notes, managing bullying in south african secondary schools: a case study.

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN : 0951-354X

Article publication date: 13 August 2018

The high prevalence of bullying in South African schools in recent times is a cause for serious concern. Bullying is traumatic and has a painful, corrosive and damaging impact on children, families and society. Hence, curbing the problem before it spirals out of control in secondary schools requires immediate urgent attention from all stakeholders of the school. The purpose of this paper is to report on part of the investigation done for a doctoral thesis (Singh, 2016), which looked at the factors contributing to bullying perpetration in secondary schools and on the basis of the findings, recommend a model that may be used to curb bullying in secondary schools. A qualitative research design was used to investigate the problem through an interview process with participants from secondary schools, as well as a circuit manager from the Uthungulu district of KwaZulu-Natal. The findings confirmed that the problem of bullying emanated at the level of the family, the school and the community. The paper concludes with the provision of a model to manage and curb bullying in these secondary schools.


A qualitative research approach, in particular a case study design, was selected to give a clear understanding of participants’ views and experiences (Johnson and Christensen, 2011; Mason, 2013). The design involved a social constructivist paradigm, which was primarily concerned with meaning and understanding people’s “lived experiences” and “inner-worlds” in the context of the conditions and circumstances of their lives, which in this particular instance was bullying in secondary schools, occurring within a social context, which was the school (Johnson and Christensen, 2011). Purposeful sampling was used to identify five secondary schools in the Uthungulu district of KwaZulu-Natal where the problem of bullying was most prevalent principals at circuit and district-level meetings complained about the high incidence of bullying perpetration in their schools.

This paper highlights the findings in respect of the factors contributing to bullying perpetration in schools and presents a management model to curb bullying in secondary schools in KwaZulu-Natal. Factors contributing to bullying: the findings from the empirical investigation avowed that the three key factors contributing significantly to bullying behaviour are located at the level of the family, the school and the community. First, influence at family level: “60–70 per cent of our learners come from broken homes”. An overwhelming majority of participants in all five secondary schools attributed the escalation of bullying in schools directly to the influence at the family level. Broken homes, poor upbringing, the absence of positive role models and the influence of media violence on learners have had a negative impact on the culture of discipline, teaching and learning in the classroom and the general ethos of schools. Second, influence at school level: “the foremost problem here is peer pressure”. An overwhelming number of participants identified several factors at the school level that contributed to bullying in secondary schools. Learner 3 (School A) highlighted the problem of peer pressure and the need to belong to a group as a critical factor in advancing bullying in schools. Third, influence at community level: “they come from that violent environment”. Participants explained that the absence of after-school programmes and a lack of facilities, particularly in rural communities, misdirected youngsters into engaging in other destructive vices such as forming gangs and indulging in drugs and alcohol, to keep themselves occupied.


Various studies have been conducted in South Africa to understand the phenomenon of bullying and violence in South African schools. While the current body of research highlights the problem of bullying in schools and provides some guidelines on what measures may be adopted to address the problem, the suggested methods are not effective enough, resulting in the problem continuing unabated. This study therefore suggests a model to manage and curb bullying in secondary schools in South Africa.

  • South Africa

Steyn, G.M. and Singh, G.D. (2018), "Managing bullying in South African secondary schools: a case study", International Journal of Educational Management , Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 1029-1040. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-09-2017-0248

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles

We’re listening — tell us what you think, something didn’t work….

Report bugs here

All feedback is valuable

Please share your general feedback

Join us on our journey

Platform update page.

Visit emeraldpublishing.com/platformupdate to discover the latest news and updates

Questions & More Information

Answers to the most commonly asked questions here

Troubled Adolescent due to Bullying Term Paper

When Joe joint collage he faced some awkward behaviour, where older boys exerted force on him to undertake various self-conscious activities. This was obviously possible due to imbalance of supremacy caused by difference on their learning levels.

The older boys had engagements that exerted some superior external forces on him since he was younger, to unwillingly participation in various activities including sexually related performances.

His naïve state or innocence did not assist him to understand the state of affairs and he often persevered decisively on a thought that it was the norm at college level. The option of forcing resist was not logical since the possibility of a win was probably nil.

Joe’s college lifestyles mainly involved work-related strains, unattended depression, anxiety and frequent physical injuries inflicted by college mates who were older. He would persevere quietly perhaps due to the fact that majority of the freshmen like him underwent similar circumstances or probably worse. This weakened his self-esteem and he felt an inferior party in the institution. The bulling and unsafe states of affairs were mainly in existence due to drug related abuses.

Joe often suffered from some obvious physical signs of bullying and physical molestation such as walking difficulties, sitting and playing difficulties due to incurred injuries. He showed the impression of strain during such common activities for instance during games. He also had constant and common long-term pains or physical irritation. Different bruises and scars marks on his body were equally an indication that he was a victim of physical bullying.

Joe underwent physical abuse such as corporal punishment, slapping and kicking particularly by those who had been accorded managerial authority to teach and maintain good institutional values among new students. The physically abusive students would therefore illegally justify their actions by insisting on the need to teach and emphasize discipline.

They forcefully and unlawfully implemented the ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ rule, that supported physical abuses instead of physical-corrective punishments. The senior student therefore abuses the authority accorded to them to instil disciplining by teaching the right from wrong and instead instilled fear and other severe emotional effects through dictatorship and bulling.

Joe lacked the courage to express obvious bullying related depression, since the situation had become a familiar situation. His lowered self-esteem would make him to observe the common behaviours of the older boys quietly and accept the situation as a cultural practice.

According to Albert Bundura’s Social Learning Theory, like Joe, most people learn through observation of state of affairs and often later imitate the happening, considering them as the norm. Eventually, physical or emotional abuses such as bullying are thus replicated and have diverse effects especially during adulthood.

Joe underwent bodily harm that included emotional, physical and sexual acts. The social learning theory indicates that the biggest effect of abusive acts such as bulling causes huge emotional effects on the victim because the acts are captured by their attention. The victim therefore has the ability to commit the observations to memory. The observations and recording of such acts function as motivational factors to committing similar acts on others.

Joe’s college lifestyle was an unpredictable state full of emotional confusions. There was evident lack of care, love and safety. Most of his time was spent alone and the loneliness was clearly a huge emotional effect that brutally damaged his mental status and lowered his social developments.

The effects of bullying are currently evident on Joe’s lifestyle although he tried to conceal the memory during his freshman period. Being silence over the bulling acts was his style of healing and he had discomforts of discussing the subject matter, besides revealing the cruelty. He would try to conceal the exploitation or negligence but it emphasized guiltiness, shame and other anomalous problems especially during his later years of college.

One of the major elements of childhood abuse evident in Joe’s life was his unpredictability behaviour. He would agonize in anger, and often aimed at asserting control instead of reacting lovingly in the aim of enhancing his social lifestyle. Currently, Joe is eager and focused on the need to instilling good behaviours in others too through action that would implant fear on them.

Some of the signs inhibited by Joe include unwarranted withdrawal reactions. He is in constant fear of an attack or nervous about the possibility of being responsible of a wrong act. He is excessively aggressive during reaction.

After a certain abusive period, Joe confirms the Bandura’s social learning theory through his actions. He had quietly formed the idea of college bullying behaviours by observing how they emerged and occurred. He replicates some of the bullying act on fellow students especially those in his level of study.

He therefore started to practice the acts of bullying by referencing the coded information he recorded when he was also bullied. The coded information therefore acted as a guide for his actions.

Some of the bullying acts that Joe underwent as a freshman in college such as sexual abuse were subtle. The emotional effects therefore involved constant personal humiliations, and he consequently suffers from continuous shame, or disparage. Today, he continuously demeans his colleagues during so that they could suffer similar humiliation like the one he experienced quietly.

The common bullying that Joe suffered involved calling of names and comparison to negative aspects that would rupture his ego. A was often called worthless names, yelled at, threatened or bullied.

As the social learning theory indicate, through observation, a victim of abuse such as bullying often suffers from suppressed feelings of holding back traumatizing memories and idealizing guiltiness.

Joe suffered from this reaction, to counter-attack abusive memories. He would distinctively disassociate from any known original causes or effects of bullying during a discussion. He practiced the acts of bullying as a unique ways of forgetting sources of his anger, helplessness, anxiety, despair and pain.

Bullying is the cause of Joe’s higher propensity to engaging risky behaviours today, such as drugs abuse or unprotected sexual engagements, violence or criminal responses.

The bullying made him form a cohesive dissociation from his family and friends. He is currently repellent against potential bullies and would engage criminal behaviours or contrary prefer acts that are in line with bullying traits such as drug abuse, psychic activities, and prostitution. Regardless of the low self-esteem that he suffers from, Joe often wants to be manager among colleagues.

Management provides a chance to react back and revenge earlier mistreatments. Authority provides him a scapegoat to release earlier emotional tensions that he held back.

Joe has poor trust and difficulties in maintaining strong relationships. His self –esteem is lost and he has fear within, which causes difficulty in maintaining relationships. He feels dehumanized, worthlessness and suffers from a damaged personality, and therefore lacks advocacy to strive for excellence due to poor self-image.

His emotions are troubled and he lacks the ability to express emotions safely. Bulling is therefore a main source of violence, anxiousness, depression and angered personalities. The overall effect of such personalities is involvement in misbehaviours such as drug abuse.

Possible solutions to address bullying

Bullied victims repress the effects, and therefore these effects reoccur easily during their later lifestyles depending on the intensity.

The effects and consequences are thus more severe and rigid to deal with. According to the social learning theory, these are learnt behaviours through observation and internalization; therefore, to shatter the irresponsible behaviours, it is important that a victim seek professional assistance.

Therapy classes and other specialized assistance help to control the emotions of the victim. Personal care is furthermore an important factor of further prevention of such abuse due to control of emotions. Neutralization of anger through control of emotions and efforts to change personal qualities is an effective effort of managing bullies and thus breaking the abuse cycle.

It might be difficult to approach a bullied individual to assist him or her since the situation might be overwhelming and confusing, but bold steps are better especially when taken earlier whenever a suspicious signs of bullied person are noted. An abused personality requires composed reassurance and categorical sustenance. A victim becomes ease and ready to share once reassurance of help is available.

Bulling is comparable to powerful experiences of stress, which persists for a while, until victims are not able to withstand. This form of stress therefore prolongs overtime and changes the way brain develops.

The person acquires the behaviour through observation of similar actions as the social learning theory indicates, and by involving professional caregivers especially adults, the stress narrows to manageable levels. This point outs that there exist appropriate intervention or support to assists victims bring back the response system to the normal baseline.

Maltreatment such as bullying is a case that is comparable to toxic stress. In order to prevent such maltreatments, there is need to understand the causes and circumstances that cause the bullies to acquire these behaviours. The four level social-ecological models assists caregivers in understanding the potential strategies for preventing such abuse at specific stages.

The theory utilizes the concept of an individual case stage and embodies it to a relationship stage, external communal relationships stage and eventually consideration of the societal factors that cans assist in solving the severe cases. The model is illustrated in the diagram below.

The Social-Ecological Model

Figure 1: The Social-Ecological Model

  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2020, July 1). Troubled Adolescent due to Bullying. https://ivypanda.com/essays/case-study-of-a-troubled-adolescent-due-to-bullying/

"Troubled Adolescent due to Bullying." IvyPanda , 1 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/case-study-of-a-troubled-adolescent-due-to-bullying/.

IvyPanda . (2020) 'Troubled Adolescent due to Bullying'. 1 July.

IvyPanda . 2020. "Troubled Adolescent due to Bullying." July 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/case-study-of-a-troubled-adolescent-due-to-bullying/.

1. IvyPanda . "Troubled Adolescent due to Bullying." July 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/case-study-of-a-troubled-adolescent-due-to-bullying/.


IvyPanda . "Troubled Adolescent due to Bullying." July 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/case-study-of-a-troubled-adolescent-due-to-bullying/.

  • Verbal Bullying at School: How It Should Be Stopped
  • Workplace Bullies Are Flawed Personalities
  • A Falsehood (Bull) Inventory: What Is It and When It Is Used
  • Exceptions in “Quietly Quitting” At-Will Employees
  • Troubled Children and Youth
  • Leadership and Troubled Companies
  • Tempered Radicals: Achieving Effective Changes in Organizations
  • Experience of Young People Being Bullied
  • Bullying, Facts and Countermeasures
  • "Bullied: The Jamie Nabozny Story" Documentary
  • Neurological Disorder: Effects of Schizophrenia on the Brain and Behavior
  • Informal Psychology and Psychology as a Formal Science
  • Mercy Among Children - The Story About Homesick
  • Psychological Profile: Charles Manson
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder

Home — Essay Samples — Social Issues — Cyber Bullying — Cyber Bullying: Case Study


Cyber Bullying: Case Study

  • Categories: Cyber Bullying

About this sample


Words: 533 |

Published: Mar 20, 2024

Words: 533 | Page: 1 | 3 min read

Table of contents

Case study: the smith family, impact on the victim, legal and ethical implications.

Image of Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Let us write you an essay from scratch

  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours

Get high-quality help


Dr Jacklynne

Verified writer

  • Expert in: Social Issues


+ 120 experts online

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy . We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

No need to pay just yet!

Related Essays

4 pages / 1869 words

4 pages / 1757 words

4 pages / 1965 words

3 pages / 1142 words

Remember! This is just a sample.

You can get your custom paper by one of our expert writers.

121 writers online

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled

Related Essays on Cyber Bullying

Bullying is a serious issue that affects individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. It can have long-lasting negative effects on the mental and emotional well-being of those who experience it. In this essay, we [...]

Child bullying is a widespread issue that affects many young children and adolescents. It can manifest in physical or verbal forms, and can even take the form of cyberbullying through social networks (Kowalski & Limber, [...]

The usage of data and communication technology has not just carried points of interest to humankind. The rise and emergence of cyberbullying in schools has become a huge problem. Affecting all things considered, instructors and [...]

The advancement of technology has brought about several benefits to society, including the ability to communicate and connect with others across the globe. However, this same technology has given rise to a new form of bullying, [...]

So, what is cyberbullying? Cyberbullying is essentially a form of bullying that occurs online, often through social networking sites, and involves posting negative words with the intention of humiliating others. Sadly, this form [...]

In today's digital age, the rise of social media and online communication platforms has brought about a new form of bullying known as cyberbullying. This phenomenon involves individuals using technology to harass, intimidate, [...]

Related Topics

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement . We will occasionally send you account related emails.

Where do you want us to send this sample?

By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

Be careful. This essay is not unique

This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

Download this Sample

Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts

Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.

Please check your inbox.

We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!

Get Your Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

We use cookies to personalyze your web-site experience. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy .

  • Instructions Followed To The Letter
  • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
  • Unique And Plagiarism Free

case study essay about bullying

We use cookies to enhance our website for you. Proceed if you agree to this policy or learn more about it.

  • Essay Database >
  • Essays Samples >
  • Essay Types >
  • Case Study Example

Bullying Case Studies Samples For Students

495 samples of this type

WowEssays.com paper writer service proudly presents to you a free catalog of Bullying Case Studies intended to help struggling students tackle their writing challenges. In a practical sense, each Bullying Case Study sample presented here may be a pilot that walks you through the essential stages of the writing procedure and showcases how to pen an academic work that hits the mark. Besides, if you need more visionary assistance, these examples could give you a nudge toward a fresh Bullying Case Study topic or encourage a novice approach to a banal issue.

In case this is not enough to satisfy the thirst for effective writing help, you can request personalized assistance in the form of a model Case Study on Bullying crafted by an expert from scratch and tailored to your particular instructions. Be it a simple 2-page paper or a sophisticated, lengthy piece, our writers specialized in Bullying and related topics will submit it within the stated timeframe. Buy cheap essays or research papers now!

The Five Force Analysis Case Study Sample

The five force analysis is key in establishing the competitive environment of any business entity. In this case, this analytical tool will help in shedding light on the nature of the business environment that China Airlines finds itself in-the airline industry.

Communication Politics Case Study Examples

The god squad group case study sample.

Don't waste your time searching for a sample.

Get your case study done by professional writers!

Just from $10/page

Cyber-Bullying Case Study

One of the most important factors to consider in Sarah’s case is disclosure. If I were in Sarah’s shoes, I would ensure that I inform either the school or my parents of the disturbing email immediately once it was sent. Isolation, as Sarah did, is not the answer to this situation.

Good Case Study About An Analytical Of The Echazabal V Chevron Inc

Bullying in schools today case study sample, youre name case studies example, analysis of fast food industry: mcdonald’s, free case study about drinking in the workplace, good example of case study on understanding the scenario, case study on nucor, free academic case study on domestic violence, trap ease america case study.

<Put your name here> <Put the name of your school / University here>

Feasible Alternatives:

Free case study on domestic violence, case study on regards, good netflix in 2012 case study example, business brief: the changing landscape, free cjm 302 - final case study sample, executive summary, statistics project case study examples, the role of communities in combating child abuse and neglect case study samples.

(Insert Institution)


Free case study on the agency problem, example of case study on advanced persistent threats against rsa tokens, risk management study case study sample, headquarters' overhead cost allocation at korea auto insurance co. inc case study example, free case study on goals, personal information, example of case study on a detailed swot analysis of wal-mart, the key issues case study sample.

There are many issues surrounding the life of Marci, the 23 year old young woman that seems to be losing her mind because of perceived indulgence into drugs. Among the primary issues surrounding the life of Marci, the young woman, are such things as:

List in order of importance

Example of panera bread case study, potential threats facing panera bread, legal case scenarios case study examples, free case study on sunday communications ltd, introduction:, case study on defining porter's five competitive forces, porter`s five competitive forces.

Michael Porter in 1979 laid out the five competitive forces model that was intended to apply in shaping business strategies. According to Porter the five forces proposed were microeconomic in nature and not macroeconomic. In addition, three of the forces were internal in nature and two were external. In a sense, a business firm could control the internal forces and only cushion itself against the effect of the external forces. The paper briefly discusses the five competitive forces.

Threat of entrants (new competitors)

Industrial forces case study examples, swot analysis case study examples, what is the purpose of your organization case study.

The fight against crime can be dealt with and has been dealt with in many ways. One of the most prompted ways of fighting crime is the reduction and fight against drug abuse and substance abuse. The psychologists state that, when a person is under the influence of drugs chances of engaging in crime are usually high (Peet, 2004). As a political science student I carried out an interview with a catholic catechist who takes part in the interfaith drug policy initiative on the take of the organization on crime. The following are excerpts from the interview.

Gordon Biersch Strengths and Weaknesses Case Study Examples

Example of case study on risk for ineffective breathing patterns direct effect of the toxicity of alcohol, question 1: evidence of substance abuse disorder, theoretical model for explaining co-occurring disorders case study sample, marys case case study examples, criminal defense case study sample, criminal defense, grand canyon university mft 537 case study example, borderline personality disorder case study sample, human resource management case study example, horizontal hostility in nursing case study examples, horizontal hostility in nursing, external analysis of m-tronics case study examples, external analysis of m-tronics.

Analysis of the external forces is necessary to assess the environment in the particular industry and to create a competitive strategy for the company. Porter’s five forces offers a framework for industry assessment in terms of 5 parameters: rivalry, threat of new entrants, substitutes, the bargaining power of suppliers and the power of buyers. This framework will be further applied to M-Tronics company.

Case Study On Ping Sweeps And Port Scans

Ping sweeps and port scans.

Every information infrastructure of any organization is target for hackers. Hackers will always come up with new ways of trying to gain access to the network whether internally or externally. Some of the techniques that have been employed by intruders include ping sweeps and port scans (Baskin, & Kanclirz, 2008). They use these means to access network information, which would be instrumental for them in the process of hacking.

Ping sweeps

Benefits and compensations case study.

1. a) Describe the socialization process that Turner experienced at MLI

Case Study On A Cautionary Fable

This paper is an examination of some of the psychological aspects of the child/parent relationship. Hansel and Gretel has been analyzed by many, who put forth the notion that it offers a model for understanding the psychological roots of child abandonment, abuse and neglect. As such, this essay offers an overview of a preventive approach that may be applicable to the plight of families, particularly impoverished families such as Hansel and Gretel’s.

A Cautionary Fable: Understanding Primal Fear and Violence in ‘Hansel and Gretel’

Case Study On Determinants Of Class Position And Status

Livelife health care (in the casebook) case study, child protection-child abuse, neglect, and case planning case study example, northern university.

Respectfully Submitted to: Type Month and Year

Bullying The Amanda Todd Story: Example Case Study By An Expert Writer To Follow

Exemplar case study on bullying: the amanda todd story to write after, criminal law case study example.

<Lecturer’s Name and Course Number>

Expertly Crafted Case Study On Domestic Violence

Type or types of maltreatment case study to use for practical writing help, response to case study scenario, free case study on external analysis, free case study on cirque du soleil, good company overview case study example, report of hudson’s bay company, free case study on research on intimate partner violence and the duty to protect, methodology case studies example, video game violence and its effects on children, domestic violence case study example, good strategic management in google case study example, graduate student.

Password recovery email has been sent to [email protected]

Use your new password to log in

You are not register!

By clicking Register, you agree to our Terms of Service and that you have read our Privacy Policy .

Now you can download documents directly to your device!

Check your email! An email with your password has already been sent to you! Now you can download documents directly to your device.

or Use the QR code to Save this Paper to Your Phone

The sample is NOT original!

Short on a deadline?

Don't waste time. Get help with 11% off using code - GETWOWED

No, thanks! I'm fine with missing my deadline



Indian government initiatives on cyberbullying: A case study on cyberbullying in Indian higher education institutions

  • Published: 04 July 2022
  • Volume 28 , pages 581–615, ( 2023 )

Cite this article

  • Manpreet Kaur   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0002-7680-3075 1 &
  • Munish Saini   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4129-2591 1  

20k Accesses

15 Citations

Explore all metrics

In the digitally empowered society, increased internet utilization leads to potential harm to the youth through cyberbullying on various social networking platforms. The cyberbullying stats keep on rising each year, leading to detrimental consequences. In response to this online threat, the Indian Government launched different helplines, especially for the children and women who need assistance, various complaint boxes, cyber cells, and made strict legal provisions to curb online offenses. This research evaluates the relevant initiatives. Additionally, a survey is conducted to get insights into cyberbullying in higher education institutions, discussing multiple factors responsible for youth and adolescents being cyberbullied and a few measures to combat it in universities/colleges.

Similar content being viewed by others

case study essay about bullying

Cyberbullying in the University Setting

case study essay about bullying

Exploratory Research to Identify the Characteristics of Cyber Victims on Social Media in New Zealand

case study essay about bullying

Destructive Digital Ecosystem of Cyber Bullying Perfective Within the Information Technology Age

Avoid common mistakes on your manuscript.

1 Introduction

Cyberbullying is harassment done to the victim to cause harm via any electronic method, including social media resulting in defamation, public disclosure of private facts, and intentional emotional distress (Watts et al., 2017 ). It can be related to sending and posting cruel texts or images with the help of social media and other digital communication devices to harm a victim (Washington, 2015 ). It is a repeated behavior done by the individual with the help of social media, over the gaming, and messaging platforms that target mainly to lower the victims' self-esteem.

In the past decade, Cyberbullying has been an emerging phenomenon that has a socio-psychological impact on adolescents. With the advancement of digital technology, youth is more attached to social media, resulting in cyberbullying. With the increasing usage of techno-savvy gadgets, social media applications are highly prevalent among the youth, which can be advantageous and disadvantageous. It allows sharing posts, photos, and messages personally and privately among friends, while on the other hand, it involves an increase in cyberbullying by creating fake accounts on the apps (Ansary, 2020 ).

In July 2021, 4,80 billion people worldwide were on social media, that's almost 61% of the world's total population depicting an annual growth of 5.7% as 7 lac new users join per day (Digital Around the World, 2021 ). As the number of users increases, there is a surge in cyberbullying; according to a UNICEF poll, more than 33% of youngsters are reported as victims of online bullying in 30 countries worldwide (UNICEF, 2020 ). Moreover, it is seen that one in five has skipped school due to fear of cyberbullying and violence. According to NCRB, 50,035 cases of cybercrime were reported in India in the year 2020, among which 1614 cases of cyberstalking, 762 cases of cyber blackmailing, 84 cases of defamation, 247 cases of fake profiles, and 838 cases of fake news were investigated. NCRB data Footnote 1 reported that cybercrimes in India increased by 63.48% (27248 cases to 44548 cases) from 2018 to 2019, which upsurged by 12.32% in 2020 (44548 cases to 50035cases).

Multiple cases of cyberbullying were reported across the country. As per news reports, in November 2016, a 23-year-old Ooshmal Ullas, MBBS student of KMCT Medical College in Mukkam, Kerala, committed suicide by jumping due to being cyberbullied over a Facebook post and injured her spine, legs, and head. Footnote 2 One more incident was reported on 9 January 2018 where a 20 years old Hindu woman killed herself after facing harassment on WhatsApp over her friendship with a Muslim man in Karnataka. Footnote 3 Another case was witnessed, a 15-year-old boy connected with the 'Bois locker room', an Instagram group where they share photos of minor girls and exchange lewd comments, was arrested by Delhi police on 4 May 2020. Footnote 4 An incident occurred on 26 June 2014 a 17 years old girl committed suicide after Satish and Deepak, her friends, morphed her photos and posted them on Facebook along with her cell phone number. Footnote 5 Many such cases are reported every year, and this rising number of suicides due to cyberbullying is alarming and worrisome.

The primary cause of cyberbullying is anonymity, in which a bully can easily target anyone over the internet by hiding their original identity. The psychological features play an eminent role in determining whether a person is a victim or a bully. A pure bully has a high level of aggression and needs succorance, whereas the pure victim has high levels of interception, empathy, and nurturance (Watts et al., 2017 ). It has been found that various factors are responsible for becoming a cyberbully. According to Tanrikulu (Tanrikulu & Erdur-Baker, 2021 ), Personality traits are responsible for cyberbullying behavior. The primary cause is online inhibition, in which a person bullies others with the motives of harm, domination, revenge, or entertainment. Other causes are moral disengagement as the findings imply that, regardless of the contemporaneous victimization status, moral disengagement has an equal impact on bullying perpetration for those who are most engaged. Pure bullies have more moral disengagement than those bullies/victims who aren't as active in bullying (Runions et al., 2019 ). The next one is Narcissism , which means individuals consider social status and authority dominant over their human relations. The last is aggression, which refers to overcoming negativities and failures by force, triggering them to do cyberbullying for satisfaction. Similarly, there are some personality traits associated with cyberbullying participants as a study (Ngo et al., 2021 ) examined three groups of online users where the first one is the "Intervene" group which believes in uplifting the morale of victims by responding to cyberbullying acts while others are the "Ignore" group that doesn't involve in reacting to the cyberbullying acts and just ignores the victims or leave the cyberspace and the third one is "Join in" that either promote the bullying or just enjoy watching cyberbullying act without any participation. The adolescents belonging to intervene group may play a critical role in reducing cyberbullying behavior and its consequences.

Social acceptance also plays a vital role in reducing bullying. It has been observed that among students who lack socialization activity, an individual contributes a high incidence rate of bullying that leads to victimization. Yubero carried out a study that depicts individuals feeling more comfortable in online environments that are not accepted by their peers and hence are more exposed to cyberbullying victimization. Apart from this, the relationship between loneliness and cyberbullying is more prevalent because lonely youth devote quality of time to the internet hence facing cyberbullying (Yubero et al., 2017 ). In this situation, students could either defend themselves or rely on cyber bystander intervention. A cyber bystander is one offering assistance to the victim, either individually or socially, and they are more inclined to act if they feel more empathy (Wang, 2021 ). Since interfering publicly may have detrimental consequences, cyber bystanders are more worried about being retaliated against or being the next victim.

Parental support and monitoring also help to escape cyberbullying victimization. It has been observed that parents who employed autonomy-supportive measures, such as understanding the adolescent's viewpoint, providing alternatives, and giving justifications for prohibitions, had youngsters who reported lower cyberbullying than parents who used dominating measures (especially using guilt, shame, and conditional regard) (Legate et al., 2019 ).

Cyberbullying is one of the significant problems that need to be eradicated. Due to cyberbullying, youngsters face many issues related to their health like depression, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and even it leads to low academic performance, etc. Several aspects are considered responsible for cyber victimization like social media, online hours, parental monitoring, awareness, social engagement, etc. The incidences of cyberbullying are elevating day by day even after the strict crime-fighting measures by state and central authorities. But the implementation of specific rules and regulations against cyberbullying crime may alter the future scenario. The Indian Government is quite aware of the issue of cyberbullying faced on social media, and the Government carries out many remedial interventions like women and child helpline numbers. Moreover, the Government provides legal implementations and acts that are trying to curb the issues of cyberbullying.

2 Aim and objective

This study aims to evaluate the initiatives taken by the Indian Government at the forefront of this noble battle to stop cyberbullying incidences and to find out various factors that make youth more vulnerable to cyberbullying. The following objectives were expected to be accomplished:

Enunciating the problem of Cyberbullying in higher education institutions.

Assessing the initiatives of the Indian Government, legal provisions for cyberbullying, and their amendments.

Evaluate the responses of higher education students to cyberbullying questionnaire.

To examine the factors responsible for cyber victimization and a few measures to combat cyberbullying.

This study is divided into two modules, as shown in Figs. 1 and 2 , to achieve the aforementioned objectives. The first module focuses on explaining and exploring cyberbullying on various online platforms via digital devices, as well as preventative actions done by our Government and different cyberbullying legislation in India. In the second module, we conducted an online survey to access and examine the responses of University/College students.

figure 1

Module 1- Outline of Research

figure 2

Module 2-Case Study

3 Organization of paper

This paper is organized as follows, the Section  4 covers the review of research work on Cyberbullying in higher education institutions. The Section  5 highlights various merits and demerits associated with the internet, social media, and cyberbullying faced. Initiatives taken by the Indian Government in response to cyberbullying are elaborated in Section  6 . The Section  7 provides insight into the survey conducted on students of higher educational institutions. It comprises data collection, data pre-processing, methods, and algorithms employed in conducting and evaluating the responses of the participants. A detailed analysis of the results is mentioned in the "Discussion" section. In the later part of the study, measures to combat cyberbullying, major conclusions, and future recommendations are specified.

4 Related work

In the context of cyberbullying, several studies have been conducted in various countries at college and school levels, examining the different parameters responsible for cyberbullying victimization and the laws against cyberbullying. Different countries have their legal provisions to tackle the situation. A study by (Çevik et al., 2021 ) has discussed factors contributing to cyberbullying and victimization, which are problematic internet usage, school burnout, and parental monitoring. As the long hours of internet usage have resulted in the establishment of fake friendships, low academic profile, aggression, low self-esteem, and loneliness. School burnout includes students lacking interest in studies, exhaustion over studies has resulted in high usage of internet sources, increasing the risk of peer bullying. Parental monitoring plays a crucial role in the lives of adolescents, but a lack of coordination is witnessed between the adolescent and parents, leading to cyberbullying and victimization.

Yubero (Yubero et al., 2017 ) surveyed a sample of 243 Spanish university students in the social science stream, and the results confirmed Only 9.8% of higher education students experienced cyberbullying on the campus, which is much lower than reported by other studies, it may be due to the time frame selection of case study or its definition. Various parameters that may be considered a prime cause of being a victim have been examined. As a result, not much correlation was found between the loneliness of a student and cyberbullying victimization; self-esteem and cyberbullying victimization. But a negative correlation was seen between perceived acceptance by peers and cyberbullying victimization. So, it concludes that emphasis must not only be laid upon preventive measures but also on educating or training peers to help each other and building good relationships with people from whom they can seek advice. Whereas, in Ghana, 878 students took part in this study, where 83% of students have experienced cyberbullying at least once, which is much higher than the previous study result. It seems that cyberbullying is acceptable everyday behavior among Ghanaian youth, even don't feel about reporting it, and not much difference between the personality traits of victims and non-victim seen (Sam et al., 2019 ).

Students can also use a few precautionary measures to reduce cyberbullying by changing their profile settings, as blocking and deleting are considered highly used protective decisions to prevent inappropriate actions over a social networking site like Facebook. Chapin (Chapin, 2016 ), has used the precaution adoption process model to promote precautionary behavior to lower the risk associated with the health due to cyberbullying. According to Chapin, it is seen that many students are aware of the act of bullying but don't take any action.

Cyberbullying has long-term effects, and bullying behavior may continue much longer than expected. In a study, 638 Israeli undergraduate students participated, and various cyberbullying problems were evaluated. The study demonstrated that students experiencing cyberbullying face academic problems, anxiety, career problems, depression, family problems, interpersonal problems, self-esteem, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation. 57.4% of participants reported that cyberbullying among the youth will enter the workplace, which will continue throughout their lifetime (Peled, 2019 ).

In educational institutions, social networking platforms are beneficial, as Alamri et al. (Alamri et al., 2020 ) surveyed 192 students of King Faisal, a Saudi Arabian University. This survey was based on the use of SMA's (Social Media Applications) for education sustainability in the higher education system. In their research, they proposed a Theory acceptance Model used in conjunction with constructivism theory. In this model, they developed 14 hypotheses for the adoption of SMA's in students' learning systems and analyzed positive assessment of students for the adoption of SMA's in their higher education. Al-Rahmi et al. also discussed the use of Social media for Collaborative learning and information sharing among the students of the higher education system, in which a survey was conducted among the 538 university students. Students gave positive outcomes towards using SM (social media) for collaboration and student learning, highlighting the perceived enjoyment and ease. But at the same time, it has been observed that it may be affected due to cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and social media addiction (Al-Rahmi et al., 2020 ).

Ho et al. depicted the relationships between social support, cyberbullying victimization, and depressive symptoms and specialized their results, particularly studying the behavior of Vietnamese students (Ho et al., 2020 ). This research revealed that those students who are cyberbullied develop a higher risk of depressive symptoms. Still, social support, for instance, parental, peer, and special person support, can be considered a significant factor that can protect learners from developing such symptoms of depression. Also, while analyzing the survey results on 606 Vietnamese University students, it was found that social support is negatively correlated with cyberbullying, and social support is the only factor that helped those students come out from depression caused by cyberbullying.

Based on a cohort study performed in Hue city, 648 students were called from different schools. Only 9% of students were reported to be cyberbullied, while 17.6% suffered school bullying (Nguyen et al., 2020 ). Parental support has shown a protective relationship promoting the well-being among youth, more understanding and accepting attitude of parents is associated with reducing the consequences of cyberbullying that are mental issues, self-harm, and suicidal behaviors, including suicidal ideation, suicidal planning, and suicidal attempts in adolescents.

To assess risk factors and their impact in Myanmar, Khine et al. (Khine et al., 2020 ) conducted a cross-sectional study at a Medical university in Myanmar. The survey included 412 students in it, and the survey was based on factors leading to cyberbullying victimization during the last 12 months. The results were analyzed based on multiple logistic regression analyses. During the research, it was found that non-resident students or students studying at university for less than three years had a greater risk of being cyberbullying victims. The work also discussed the antagonistic relation between cyberbullying and academic performance and the positive relationship between cyberbullying and substance abuse, such as smoking and drinking alcohol. The research aimed that counseling services, cyber safety educational programs, and awareness of cyberbullying are urgently needed for university students of Myanmar.

Discussing another social networking platform, Aizenkot and Kashy-Rosenbaum have done a crossectional study to detect cyberbullying victimization in WhatsApp classmate groups in which 4477 students participated to complete the questionnaire. Here they (Aizenkot & Kashy-Rosenbaum, 2020 ) concluded that 56.5% of the students reported being victimized at least once, and 30% experienced it more than twice, while 18% (approx.) were victimized due to verbal violence. Other forms of victimization observed were offensive responses, insults, group violence, selectivity, particularly forced removal, and denied entry to WhatsApp groups. It leads our attention toward social media applications that distress the students.

Even During the covid 19 pandemic, when people were very much relied on online platforms due to social distancing and strict quarantine, they were suffering from depression and behavioral and mental problems. At the same time, especially the residents of Hubei, China, were facing all these problems and excessive cyberbullying, agitation, stigma, and racism peaked due to the first case of covid being reported in the city. This online bullying has severe psychological effects, and people were opting for various coping strategies. So here, the efforts must be taken unitedly by the worldwide online media, the health care workers, and the Government to prevent the secondary disaster of the pandemic in which cyberbullying was one of the major issues of concern for China (Yang, 2021 ).

5 Social media and cyberbullying in higher education institutions

Web 2.0 has initiated social media users, especially youngsters, to inculcate their viewpoints and express their thought processes in a virtual environment. Social media is a crucial platform that has encouraged students to expand interaction and has leveled up their performance. Despite its indispensable assets, liabilities cannot be overlooked in any condition (Sarwar et al., 2019 ). Cyberbullying has expanded with the higher usage of techno-savvy gadgets. The present times have modified common bullying into the involvement of harm, cruel thinking, and blackmailing through networking sites to the victims, especially on college campuses resulting in an increasing number of dropouts and suicides (Washington, 2015 ).

Higher command of mobile phones by adolescents has resulted in easy access to social networking sites without any fear. It has been increasingly contributing to cyberbullying, which has long-term adverse effects. Very few believe that it has a positivity that students become tough and develop a tendency of resilience and self-advocacy. Furthermore, it has been visualized that students do not know whether their institutions have a cyberbullying policy, and most institutions are not even prepared for handling such situations (Luker & Curchack, 2017 ).

Nowadays as the graduates are highly active over the internet for knowledge sharing, collaborative learning, and research activities which is beneficial yet resulted in the high indulgence of youth in cyberbullying, leading to negative impacts like aggressiveness, depression, low self-esteem, and also suicidal thoughts (Rasheed et al., 2020 ). Although there have been a myriad number of profits availed by everyone in the status quo, many people still undergo the undesirable effects that may alter one's privacy, security, and emotional health status. From bygone days, it has been witnessed that Cyberbullying is an urgent issue on the social platform that can turn out either short-range, long-range, temporary, or permanent effects on one's life (Abaido, 2020 ). According to Yoshida (Yoshida, 2021 ), different kinds of online behaviors are shown by university students on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They form different communities based on their knowledge or depending upon fan following while swinging their interest from one topic to another. They share their viewpoints on these online platforms where different audiences are reading them. Also, they lack sociability skills and have less knowledge about these online communities. Consequently, this incapability may lead to cyber victimization.

Even the young social media users of color have faced a lot of racial discrimination over the online platforms leading to mental health risks resulting in depressive symptoms, anxiety, and illicit drug use (Tao & Fisher, 2022 ).

Online gaming among young adults is prevailing at a high level with time as a good source of entertainment, but it's being observed to be one of the leading causes of bullying. Hence, online games have resulted in more aggression, violence, conflicts, emotional distress, mental torture, and physical arousals where family and community can act as an inevitable source to reduce the addiction to the internet and strengthen their mental health (Huang et al., 2021 ).

Moreover, students being cyberbullied do not share such incidences with their parents because they fear losing internet access. So, parents could not be assumed as their support system. The other approach is complaining, where a shocking dimension has been observed: there are no policies or federal laws dealing with cyberbullying directly; a federal system covers only a few aspects of cyberbullying (Washington, 2015 ). Another study has also concluded that victims are unable to express any kind of violent cybercrime behavior faced them, presuming that it can result in limited access to internet sources and gadgets by their parents. The victims also perceive that adults cannot understand the issues faced by them. Hence, this depicts a huge gap between teachers, parents, and adolescents (Ngo, et al., 2021 ).

Due to Cyberbullying on-campus, students are experiencing various adverse effects, including feelings of sadness, embarrassment, humiliation, desire for vengeance, and physical and mental retaliation (Cassidy et al., 2017 ). Despite strict rules and awareness, students do not come forward to report cyberbullying. They are afraid, feel self-ashamed, cry, become depressed, suffer from anxiety, experience insomnia, or even miss school (Watts et al., 2017 ).

Cyberbullying is considered one of the potential risks of relying on online technologies and has been one of the significant technology abuse examples in the past decade due to its harmful and sometimes deadly impacts. Counseling acts as a tonic and curative approach that may aid the cyberbullying sufferers in overcoming their fears and issues faced by them. Initiating a hotline or a mobile application can also turn into a valuable perspective. To foster counseling, short seminars and discussion sessions must be taken out regularly among the scholars. Bystanders should also take some initiative to eradicate online bullying situations by breaking their silence at the very right time (Abaido, 2020 ).

6 Indian government initiatives and legal provisions

Various laws of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860 and the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) listed under legal provisions can be used to fight cyberbullies. A National Cybercrime reporting portal has been established for complaints, and a few more government initiatives are discussed.

6.1 Legal provisions

6.1.1 it act, 2000.

IT ACT, 2000 Footnote 6 came into power to provide legal identification regarding the exchange of data electronically. In computer-related offenses, up to 3 to 5 years imprisonment and rupees one lac fine or both can be charged and, in some cases, even more. Under IT Act, sections 66 A, 66 C, 66 D, and 66 E, punishment is given to the person involved in any crime of insulting or fraud or privacy violation, etc., utilizing the internet, social media, and other digital media devices. IT act, section 67, 67A, and section 67 B deal with publishing and transmitting material containing the sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form. All these sections of IT Acts are explained in Table 8 of the Appendix.

6.1.2 The Indian penal code 1860

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) Footnote 7 is the official criminal code of India that covers all substantive aspects of criminal law, which came into existence in the year 1862 in all British Presidencies. IPC Sections 292A, 354 A, 354 D, 499, 507, and 509 punish people who indulge in blackmailing, harassment, stalking, threatening, intruding, etc. (for details of IPC laws refer to Table 8 of Appendix).

6.1.3 POCSO ACT, 2012

Protection of children from sexual offenses (POCSO) is a complete law for protecting children below 18 years from the heinous acts of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.

6.2 Government initiatives

6.2.1 the nirbhaya funds scheme.

It is an initiative of the Government of India under the Nirbhaya funds scheme for ensuring the safety of women and children. The ministry of Home affairs generated a single number (112) Footnote 8 which was under the Emergency response support system (ERSS), to cope with any emergencies where immediate assistance from police, fire, and rescue, or any other help is required. https://112.gov.in/

6.2.2 Cybercrime prevention against women and children scheme (CCPWC Scheme)

Under the CCPWA scheme, Footnote 9 for cybercrime prevention and setting up of Cyber forensic training labs grant of INR 87.12 Crore was released to states/UTs. Moreover, INR 6 crores were given to enhance police and prosecutors' training sessions. Under the CCPWA scheme, different units are established that are responsible for reporting online criminal acts and their investigations, analyzing cybercrime reports, and detecting any alarming cybercrime situation. Various components of the CCPWA scheme are given in Table 9 of the Appendix.

6.2.3 Indian cybercrime coordination centre (I4C) scheme

To prevent unnecessary use of social space, I4C acts as an essential tool to fight against cybercrime. Moreover, it is supported by fast pace technological advancements and international agencies to work on several activities. Its objective is to deal with different issues faced on online media, giving special attention to women and children victims and creating awareness among youth. Various components of the I4C scheme are mentioned in Table 10 of the Appendix .

6.3 Cybercrime reporting portals & helplines

6.3.1 national cyber crime reporting portal.

NCCR portal is an initiative of the Government of India that submits online complaints by the victims who have faced criticism, especially women and children. Footnote 10 They provide immediate action on the filed complaints with the help of local police. Since the technology has been overstepping every conventional method, it has also outrun the offline process of filing cybercrime complaints. The cybercrime complaints can be registered on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal, which facilitates the nationwide cybercrime complaints and makes it feasible for the victims/complainants to have access to the cybercrime cells and all the information related to cybercrimes at their fingertips. The written complaint can also be filed by registering the crime-faced victim at a nearby cyber crime cell. Cyber Crime Portal State-wise, Nodal cyber cell officers and grievance officers' contact details and e-mail IDs are provided on the website https://cybercrime.gov.in/ . Footnote 11

6.3.2 Portal for women and children

Various helpline numbers and complaint portals for women and children are listed in Table 1 .

6.4 Anti-bullying or cyberbullying laws in India for schools and colleges

With the high increase in bullying in schools, especially in boarding schools in India, the HRD ministry has launched anti-ragging committees to reduce the rate of bullying. These committees work on punishing students who are indulged in the activities along with rustication in case of high involvement in bullying. The University Grants Commission comes forward with anti-ragging rules in universities and colleges with proper UGC regulations on pulling out the rate of ragging in higher institutions. Footnote 12

6.5 Other portals & awareness campaigns

The Ministry of Home Affairs has launched a centralized online cybercrime registration portal that has helped victims to register a complaint online rather than visiting the police station. Along with that Delhi and Indore police has a cyber cell to make people aware regarding filing a complaint online by the following link:




Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched the cyber safety awareness campaign in Assam on the occasion of the foundation day of the Assam police, which joined with cyber security and formed a Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF).

Awareness Campaign on Cyber Security By DSEJ

Jammu has made an awareness campaign for up to 2 Lakh stakeholders of the School Education Department on cyber hygiene and security held on 15 January 2021 along with online as well as offline counseling sessions on a large scale covering cyber grooming, cyberbullying, phishing, safeguarding social media accounts, online banking frauds, lottery frauds, remote access scams, social media privacy policy, etc. Many such awareness campaigns are organized nationwide by the respective Governments.

7 A Case study based on a survey

In this section, to investigate the problem of Cyberbullying in higher educational institutions, a survey has been conducted among university/college-going students that provide clear insights into the data analysis and case study outcomes.

7.1 Data analysis methodology

It includes the manual about designing the questionnaire for the survey, the process of collecting data, pre-processing data, techniques used to conduct the survey, and finally, applying algorithms to the collected data for evaluating the outcomes.

7.1.1 Designing the questionnaire

An online survey was conducted to gain insights into the feedback given by students on the cyberbullying faced by students of higher education institutions in India. The survey contains a questionnaire designed to collect information on the cyberbullying experience, various issues faced by students related to cyberbullying, the dependence of cyberbullying victimization on other parameters, institutional support, and feedback from respondents to stop cyberbullying. According to Lesley Andres, while preparing for analysis, we should identify the research problem questions and locate ourselves in the research design and process for designing an effective survey questionnaire (Andres, 2012 ). The quality of data analysis through survey questions depends on various factors like topics covered in the questionnaire, wording, format, and organization (Singh et al., 2021 ), (Williams, 2003 ).

In this study, a total of 72 questions were classified into five sections: the first is about general information and computer knowledge, the second one is related to cyberbullying victimization, the third is for cyberbullying and cyber-bystander, fourth discusses the actions and effects of cyberbullying victimization, and the last one is about institutional support and suggestion. A google form was prepared, and the specific link was shared over the e-mails, and social media platforms like WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. The database was collected over three weeks, and due to the length of the questionnaire, 220 responses were received. 80% of respondents belong to the age group of 17 to 24. The general information about the participants, moreover their devices in use, and social networking sites being used most frequently are listed in Table 2 . 60% of our participants are hostellers, where most of the students are doing their bachelor's degrees. WhatsApp is the most popularly used application among the students, being used by 88% of users, and 60% (approx.) of users have observed cyberbullying at their campuses.

7.1.2 Data pre-processing

To remove the anomalies of the database collected in the survey few steps like data cleaning, filtration, removing duplicate responses, and the language translation are done (Maier et al., 2018 ). For statistically evaluating the responses, such as finding the correlation between various parameters, the Likert scale was used to convert responses to equivalent numerical values. Furthermore, the textual answers or the suggestions obtained from users are also pre-processed manually and with the help of algorithmic techniques of R package libraries for grammatical correction, removal of numbers, special characters, misleading information, and using google translator for conversion of regional language to English wherever required.

7.1.3 Outcomes of survey questions

In a survey question, it was asked to give their opinion on which gender is bullied more :

32.3% believe that females are bullied more than males, 10.5% believe that males are bullied more, 47.7% believe that both are bullied equally, and 9.5% prefer not to say. But the actual results of the survey go with the belief of the majority, where we find out that 54% of males are bullied, and approximately 51% of females are bullied. In fact not a significant difference between their bullying percentages.

Definition of cyberbullying: An understanding by respondents

To have an idea, according to the respondents' about what cyberbullying is? According to the responses received, more than 50% of the respondents were clear about it, and the majority believe that threatening someone, taking or sharing someone's embarrassing photographs, and posting something hurtful on social media are major cyberbullying acts. Table 3 depicts the rest of the percentage of the views about Cyberbullying definition.

Views on cyberbullying: Is it a normal part of the online world, and nothing could be done to stop it: Here, the views of male and female respondents do not deviate much. For both of them, it is unacceptable. 70% of the respondents disagree with the view that it is normal we can't stop it, and only 15% of the respondents take it as a normal activity, as shown in Fig. 3 .

figure 3

Cyberbullying is a normal part of the online world

Actual percentage facing bullying classified under different categories and factors:

In Table 4 , the percentage distribution of bullied and non-bullied participants is mentioned depending on various factors like gender, social media usage hours, computer proficiency, area of residence, parent's talk, and their qualification. According to the number of hours of social media usage, on average, students use it for 4 h, and respondents using it for more than 4 h are bullied more than others. In addition, more than half of the participants have good computer knowledge, but not much dependency is seen between the computer proficiency and the percentage bullied by implementing the Chi-Square test using the Likert scale in Rstudio (Mircioiu & Atkinson, 2017 ). A p-value of 0.135 has been obtained, which is insignificant for showing a relation between computer proficiency and bullying percentage (Rana & Singhal, 2015 ). A weak relation is found between parents' talk and bullying; those whose parents frequently talk about cyberbullying are bullied a little bit less as compared to those whose parents never or very rarely talk about it. No correlation is found between the area of residence, and parental qualification of the students bullied.

When you were bullied, it was related to:

Of the respondents who have been cyberbullied due to multiple reasons, the majority of victims do not know the reason, and the most prevalent reason is their physical appearance and religion. Due to their sexual orientation and race, they have also faced bullying, and disability is also one of the reasons. The percentage of various reasons is given in Fig. 4 .

figure 4

Reasons for cyberbullying


Out of total female respondants, 51.30% of females faced bullying, 11.30% were unsure, and 37.39% were not bullied. In the case of males, 55.24% of males faced bullying, 14.24% were unsure, and 30.48% were not bullied at all. Among the persons with disabilities, 83% of males and 75% of females having any type of disability faced cyberbullying.

Out of the total bullies, 64.40% of bullies are male, and 35.60% of bullies are female. 18.26% of all the female participants accepted that they had bullied someone, and approximately twice the women's percentage, i.e., 36.19% of male participants have bullied someone. But in the case of the cyber bystanders, there is not much difference in their percentages. 44.34% of the female participants and 56.19% of male participants were cyber bystanders, respectively. Various questions and their response percentages related to cyber victimization, cyberbullying, and cyber bystanders are listed in Table 5 .

Actions are taken after being Cyberbullied & Effects on victims:

In the survey conducted, more than half of the students (51.8%) are not aware of cyberbullying laws, and 58.2% have no clue where to report or what action should be taken against the bully. It has been seen that among the cyber victims, 65.15% of students know the bully.

Various persons can experience cyberbullying, and according to the responses, among the students bullied, 40.20% of cyberbullying was done by their friends, 9.28% by their relatives or cousins, 31.95% was done by their peer group, 25.77% by any senior, 14.43% by a junior and 53.60% by unknown. As mentioned in Table 6 , most cyberbullying victims feel comfortable discussing the matter with their friends or with nobody, only one-quarter of the percentage discuss it with their parents.

In Table 6 , various questions related to cyberbullying victims, their reaction toward a bully, their parent's reaction, how the cyberbullying affected studies and work, and the victim's feelings are mentioned with percentages. Most of the victims felt angry and depressed, and around half of the victims asked the bully to stop this behavior.

As shown in Fig.  5 , the R studio corrplot function is used to find correlations among various parameters, and it is observed that both the work and health of the cyberbullying victim are greatly affected.

figure 5

Correlation graph

In further detailed questioning, it is observed that 62% of cyberbullying victims ignore the messages of bullies so that he/they would lose interest, whereas 25% have sent threatening messages to bullies about doing such acts. Approximately 27% seek online advice on being bullied. Due to lack of awareness, only 40% of the victims save the cyberbullying messages or images as evidence. 32.4% of victims changed their contact details like phone number, e-mail address, chat name, or profile information visibility on social networking sites. 79% of the victims have blocked the bully so that he/she could not contact more.

Institutional support

It has been observed that higher education institutions do not provide much support to the students and make them aware of this online behavior, as 68.2% of the colleges and universities are not taking any initiative to make students aware by conducting any awareness tutorial or campaign. Only 42.8% of students who were bullied have taken guidance from university. Furthermore, 68.6% of the students have no idea where to report or to find the anti-bullying policy in their institution. Approximately 69.5% think their institutions are not doing enough to tackle the problem.

7.1.4 Topic modeling to extract relevant topics

For analysis of the feedback given by students to stop cyberbullying in institutions, using the R framework, LDA has been used. To extract the optimum number of topics in the feedback database, we used Griffith's 2004 (Griffiths & Steyvers, 2004 ) and Cau Juan's 2009 (Cao et al., 2009 ) metrics for our study in the R framework. Griffith represents an approach where the number of topics is optimal when the log-likelihood for data becomes maximum, whereas Cau Juan is used for measuring the stability of the topic and the minimum value on the graph represents the optimal number of topics. As from Fig.  6 number of topics lies between 4 to 9; in the upper graph minimum value is to be selected and from the lower one maximum value is to find the range of an optimal number of topics.

figure 6

Determining the optimal number of topics

The latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) is a statistical model that enables unidentified groups to explain why some sections of the data are related (Blei et al., 2003 ). If observations are words gathered into documents, it is assumed that each document is a mix of a small number of subjects and that each word's occurrence is due to one of the document's themes called topics. The time complexity of LDA is O(mnt  +  t 3 ) and memory requirements of O(mn  +  mt  +  nt) , where m is the number of samples, n is the number of features, and t  =  min (m,n). It is impossible to use LDA when both m and n are big (Cai et al., 2008 ). The working of LDA is shown in the Algorithm . As there does not exist any prior information on the number of topics in our corpus, we used LDAvis, which generates interactive charts where each bubble represents the topic, and topic per word distribution is represented in the bar graph plot, selection of a bubble highlights the words and bars accordingly. The prevalence of topics depends upon the bubble size. For these graphs, the "optimum" value of λ was about 0.6, which resulted in a 70% likelihood of right identification (values of λ around 0 and 1 resulted in estimated proportions of correct replies closer to 53 and 63 percent, respectively). This is evidence that ordering words according to relevance (rather than strictly in decreasing order of probability) can increase subject interpretability (Sievert & Shirley, 2014 ).

LDA has extracted the discussion topics from the set of views database submitted by students to tackle this problem, explore all the main keywords, and highlight areas that need improvement. The findings indicate the formation of five clusters, the most frequent and interdependent keywords with other clusters or topics as depicted in Fig.  7 . The number of clusters lies in the predicted range of optimal number of topics. From the topic modeling analysis, "Awareness" is the most frequent term and critical factor in curbing cyberbullying. The classification of most frequently used words and the keywords grouped according to LDA are given in Table 7 .

figure 7

LDAvis topic extraction graph

figure a

8 Discussion: Analysis of conducted survey

With the advancement of technology, social media has become a vital part of students' lives, either for their studies or entertainment. The major challenge is protecting the students from cyberbullying that can significantly affect their work and studies. Our focus is on examining cyberbullying among college/university students. For this, we divided our research into two modules. In the first one, we analyzed the Indian Government initiatives. While exploring legal provisions, it is found that so many laws, online portals and helplines are available. Strict laws implemented against cyberbullying are covered under IT Act 2000, IT Act Section 66A, IT Act Section 66 B, IT Act Section 66C, IT Act Section 66D, IT Act Section 66E, IT Act Sect. 67, IT Act Section 67A, IT Act Section 67B; under Indian Penal Code 1860, IPC Section 292 A, IPC Section 354A, IPC Section 354D, IPC Section 499, IPC Section 507, and POCSO Act 2012. Under various schemes like the Nirbhaya fund scheme, the Government launches a women and helpline number 112 for emergency response. Under CCPW Scheme, multiple labs and units have been established for cybercrime online reporting, the investigation by professional teams, and research and development. I4C scheme has also established many units for creating awareness, reporting, and inspection. MHA has established National Cybercrime reporting portals both online and offline. Moreover, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has generated a women's helpline number 118 and also a dedicated e-mail address to redress their grievances. Separate Childline 1098, NCW helpline, Mahila bol helpline, and many state government portals are available. Various awareness campaigns are launched at the state as well as international levels. In second module, a case study was performed on cyberbullying in higher education institutions.

Section-wise analyses of the conducted survey

General information: 97% of the higher education institutional students (respondents) have electronic gadgets, except the few either do not have internet connectivity or a personal device. Even in the UNICEF case study, it was found that 99 percent of both urban and rural internet users aged 12 + years used mobile phones to access the internet. Footnote 14 WhatsApp and Instagram are the most widely used social networking sites that make them more vulnerable to experience cyberbullying. The responses of the participants depict that they are not much aware of the cyberbullying term, the legal provisions, and other governmental policies against cyberbullying. At the same time, it is observed that the majority of students reacted strongly to stop this behavior.

Cyberbullying victimization and dependency of Cyberbullying on various demographic parameters: According to the survey results, more than half of the respondents have experienced cyberbullying, which is similar to the percentage obtained in a study by Aizenkot and Kashy-Rosenbaum (Aizenkot & Kashy-Rosenbaum, 2020 ). It is concluded that males are cyberbullied more than females. Moreover, the person with a disability is the most affected as 80% of them face cyberbullying. Higher hours spent on social networking sites also lead to cyberbullying victimization. This case study found that Parental awareness and discussing online issues with youngsters have played a vital role in preventing them from being bullied, which resembles the conclusion of a study conducted in Vietnam by Ho et al. (Ho et al., 2020 ). The majority of the participants are not aware of the reason for being bullied but based on physical appearance and religion, cyberbullying is most prevalent among students. Approximately half of the participants have experienced cyber defaming.

Cyberbullying and Cyber Bystander: 18.26% of the female participants accepted that they had bullied someone, and 36% of males accepted it. The survey results depict that half of the participants are cyber bystanders. The most prevalent type of cyberbullying in this survey is leaving someone without friends by either blocking or eliminating them from social groups, and similar victimization was observed in a study by Aizenkot and Kashy-Rosenbaum (Aizenkot & Kashy-Rosenbaum, 2020 ). Cyber-by-standing is more common in male students, as one-third of the students have witnessed someone posting something wrong on social media to embarrass a classmate or use abusive language. Peer bullying is commonly seen among university students.

Actions taken and the affect of cyberbullying on the victim: Only 42% of the victims report to the police, and 36% of the students get back to the bully either personally or virtually. Cyberbullying has affected both the physical and mental health of the victim, and they experience aggressiveness and depression at most times. It also affects their relationship with friends and family and their work and studies. Also, the participants said that they have stopped using various social networking sites, restricted their privacy settings, and adopted other necessary measures to avoid bullying.

Institutional support and suggestions : Cyberbullying Awareness is the need of the hour, various institutions have cyberbullying policies, but the students are not aware of that. Students need guidance, and awareness sessions and campaigns should be organized at the college/ university level. As per students' suggestive measures, there should be proper counseling sessions, teacher support, guidance to tackle online issues, a complaint portal, strict laws, and concrete action against the bully. Institutions should also teach the ethics of social media usage.

9 How to combat cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can be significantly reduced with effective interpersonal communication among the peer group, and also bystanders can play a vital role in preventing cyberbullying if they intervene immediately on behalf of victims (Rafferty & Vander Ven, 2014 ). From the case study, it has been seen that the majority of students were cyber bystanders; they should come forward and encourage reporting such issues. The students are not much aware of the cyberbulling policies, so as suggested by Watts (Watts et al., 2017 ) anonymous reporting should be introduced, and internet etiquette should be studied.

It has been analyzed that colleges/universities are not doing enough to deal with this problem. In educational institutions, policy development is a pressing need that may be addressed using focus groups to identify effective remedies for cyberbullying. In addition, institutional leaders should consider a cyberbullying policy in terms of circumstances, and aside from that, leaders may improve their workers' knowledge abilities by conducting surveys and investigative sessions on cyberbullying (Luker & Curchack, 2017 ). The study depicted that approximately 70% of the respondents feel that institutions are not doing enough to curb cyberbullying so there is a need for university professionals to effectively analyze and mitigate unfavorable internet interactions on their campuses. All students and faculty members require assistance and counseling (Cassidy et al., 2017 ).

Creating awareness is the primary need as per students' feedback. The government has launched various portals, helplines for helping women and children, cyber cells, and reporting portals for online issues but students are not much aware of these initiatives and legal provisions. There is a need to raise awareness. Insulting someone or defaming or making fun over social media are the most prevalent among educational institutions. The study findings by (Ngo et al., 2021 ) and (Hutson et al., 2018 ) have suggested several measures to curb cyberbullying. To begin, educational campaigns should be conducted to boost awareness and attitudes against cyberbullying across youth, parents, and teachers, inspiring them to become proactive in mediating and combating cyberbullying practices. Knowledge and practices on cyberbullying, communication and internet usage skills, education on digital citizenship, prosocial behaviors, empathy, and coping techniques with cyberbullying should all be included in these programs. From the case study it is observed that 70% victims feel angry, 43% depressed and one-third feel lonely and helpless. So, regular training sessions should be held to assist teenagers in developing the skills and talents necessary to actively cope with cyberbullying, assist other victims, and prevent them from being involved in cyberbullying themselves. Furthermore, institutions, healthcare providers, and leaders should promote parents' participation in suspecting and addressing cyberbullying and its implications among youngsters. This positive parent–child interaction may inspire them to seek help when confronted with adversity. In addition, Parents must exercise restraint and active mediation to raise awareness, as teenagers lack understanding of online threats and the ability to self-regulate their internet activities owing to a lack of experience (Steinfeld, 2021 ).

Also, the student Services at universities should design interventions where they concentrate not just on prophylactic work with techniques to eliminate cyberbullying but also on fostering relationships with individuals from whom victims may seek assistance with their online concerns (Yubero et al., 2017 ). Cyberbullying can be significantly reduced with effective interpersonal communication among the peer group, and also bystanders can play a vital role in preventing cyberbullying if they intervene immediately on behalf of victims (Rafferty & Vander Ven, 2014 ). As observed in cyber victimization questionnaire, cyberbullying faced by the majority is insulting someone, saying something untrue about a person or making fun of others over social media, or excluding others from online groups. Peer assistance initiatives appear to be successful in this regard where with proper training, students assist in educating their peers about using technology responsibly and cyberbullying by relating their experiences and strategies to avoid and address it.

A convenient, user-friendly, and cost-effective conversation bots (chatbots) can be used in anti-bullying programs to raise awareness regarding bullying and help change students' attitudes toward bullying problems (Oh et al., 2020 ). Moreover, to avoid consolidation and limit the impact on victims, all colleges should broaden their harassment policies, including cyberbullying; these protocols must include precise steps to be taken if such episodes are discovered. In the future, therapeutic assistance and victim protection should be included in protocols.

10 Conclusion and recommendation

With the technical advancement, and adoption of blended learning as a new paradigm in higher education, social media users are also increasing day by day, and the most significant impact is seen on the youngsters. Lack of knowledge about the ethics of using social media and the easy availability of the internet lead to cyberbullying. While the social networking sites act as a boon to the students, providing them an environment of collaborative learning even in the pandemics like covid19, at the same time, it may lead to cyberbullying victimization by exposing them to the hate and aggressive behavior on online platforms. Students have misused social media to humiliate or harass other students. So, regardless of the convenience offered by social media, the constant exposure to and communication with online technologies make the users susceptible to certain online interactions that may be beneficial at some point but put their safety and emotional and psychological well-being at risk. Over time, the Indian Government has launched various schemes (Nirbhaya Scheme, CCPW Scheme, I4C Scheme), online reporting portals (National cybercrime reporting portal), helpline numbers for women and children, and amended the required legal provisions of the IT Act and Indian Penal Code 1860 against the cyberbullying. State governments have also launched various awareness campaigns. As per UGC regulation, educational institutions have also stricken their anti-bullying policies. But the success of these initiatives depends upon the responses of the participants of the survey. It has been seen that the students are not much aware of all these laws against cyberbullying. More than half of the participants have faced cyberbullying, and many of them admitted that they had bullied others also. Cyberbullying victimization is dependent upon various factors like parents' guidance, the number of hours of social media usage, etc. Parental advice and lesser usage of social media may prevent the students from being bullied. Peer bullying is the most prevalent among college/university male students, and Cyberbullying has affected the students psychologically as well as physically; moreover, it degraded their performance at work/studies. Anger and depression are the major problems experienced by the victims. Two-thirds of the students are unaware of the cyberbullying policies and laws. After analyzing the results, it is suggested that the institutions and authorities organize seminars and counseling sessions to create awareness. They should follow strict measures to tackle cyberbullying, take appropriate actions, and establish complaint portals at the college/university level. The study covers a lot about the initiatives, provides insights into the current cyberbullying situation at higher education institutions in India, and concludes that more campaigns and seminars should be conducted to make students aware of all these legal provisions. At the same time, the study has a few limitations also: Firstly, based on popularity, only a few government initiatives and legal provisions have been listed, only national-level portals and helplines are mentioned, and State-wise programs and campaigns are not discussed. Secondly, the sample chosen may have many constraints due to the length of the survey; only limited responses are received, and the respondents may belong to the same environment and face similar problems. In the future, we will try to overcome these limitations.










https://cybercrime.gov.in/Webform/crmcondi.aspx .





Abaido, G. M. (2020). Cyberbullying on social media platforms among university students in the United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 25 , 407–420. https://doi.org/10.1080/02673843.2019.1669059

Article   Google Scholar  

Aizenkot, D., & Kashy-Rosenbaum, G. (2020). Exposure to cyberbullying in WhatsApp classmates‘ groups and classroom climate as predictors of students‘ sense of belonging: A multi-level analysis of elementary, middle and high schools. Children and Youth Services Review, 108 , 104614. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.104614

Alamri, M. M., Almaiah, M. A., & Al-Rahmi, W. M. (2020). Social media applications affecting students’ academic performance: A model developed for sustainability in higher education. Sustainability, 12 (16), 6471. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166471

Al-Rahmi, W., Yahaya, N., Alturki, U., Alrobai, A., Aldraiweesh, A., Omar Alsayed, A., & Kamin, Y. (2020). Social media – based collaborative learning: the effect on learning success with the moderating role of cyberstalking and cyberbullying. Interactive Learning Environments , 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2020.1728342

Andres, L. (2012). Designing and doing survey research . SAGE.

Book   Google Scholar  

Ansary, N. S. (2020). Cyberbullying: Concepts, theories, and correlates informing evidence-based best practices for prevention. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 50 , 101343. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2019.101343

Blei, D. M., Ng, A. Y., & Jordan, M. I. (2003). Latent Dirichlet Allocation. Journal of Machine Learning, 3 , 993–1012.

MATH   Google Scholar  

Cai, D., He, X., & Han, J. (2008). Training Linear Discriminant Analysis in Linear Time. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICDE.2008.4497429

Cao, J., Xia, T., Li, J., Zhang, Y., & Tang, S. (2009). A density-based method for adaptive LDA model selection. Neurocomputing, 72 , 1775–1781.

Cassidy, W., Faucher, C., & Jackson, M. (2017). Adversity in University: Cyberbullying and Its Impacts on Students, Faculty and Administrators. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14 . Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/14/8/888

Çevik, Ö., Ata, R., & Çevik, M. (2021). Bullying and victimization among Turkish adolescents: the predictive role of problematic internet use, school burnout and parental monitoring. Education and Information Technologies, 26 , 3203–3230. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-020-10410-1

Chapin, J. (2016). Adolescents and cyber bullying: The precaution adoption process model. Education and Information Technologies, 21 , 719–728. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-014-9349-1

Digital Around the World. (2021). Retrieved from DataReportal – Global Digital Insights: https://datareportal.com/global-digital-overview

Griffiths, T. L., & Steyvers, M. (2004). Finding scientific topics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101 , 5228–5235.

Ho, T. T., Li, C., & Gu, C. (2020). Cyberbullying victimization and depressive symptoms in Vietnamese university students: Examining social support as a mediator. International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijlcj.2020.100422

Huang, J., Zhong, Z., Zhang, H., & Li, L. (2021). Cyberbullying in social media and online games among Chinese college students and its associated factors. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 , 4819. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094819

Hutson, E., Kelly, S., & Militello, L. K. (2018). Systematic review of cyberbullying interventions for youth and parents with implications for evidence-based practice. Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, 15 , 72–79. https://doi.org/10.1111/wvn.12257

Khine, A. T., Saw, Y. M., Htut, Z. Y., Khaing, C. T., Soe, H., Swe, K. K., & Thike, T. (2020). Assessing risk factors and impact of cyberbullying victimization among university students in Myanmar: A cross-sectional study. PLOS ONE, 15 , e0227051.

Legate, N., Weinstein, N., & Przybylski, A. K. (2019). Parenting strategies and adolescents’ cyberbullying behaviors: Evidence from a preregistered study of parent-child dyads. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48 , 399–409. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-018-0962-y

Luker, J. M., & Curchack, B. C. (2017). International perceptions of cyberbullying within higher education. Adult Learning, 28 , 144–156. https://doi.org/10.1177/1045159517719337

Maier, D., Waldherr, A., Miltner, P., Wiedemann, G., Niekler, A., Keinert, A., . . . Adam, S. (2018). Applying LDA Topic Modeling in Communication Research: Toward a Valid and Reliable Methodology. Communication Methods and Measures , 93-118. https://doi.org/10.1080/19312458.2018.1430754

Mircioiu, C., & Atkinson, J. (2017). A comparison of parametric and non-parametric methods applied to a likert scale. Pharmacy . https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmacy5020026

Ngo, A. T., Tran, A. Q., Tran, B. X., Nguyen, L. H., Hoang, M. T., Nguyen, T. H., . . . Ho, C. S. (2021). Cyberbullying among school adolescents in an urban setting of a developing country: Experience, coping strategies, and mediating effects of different support on psychological well-being. Frontiers in Psychology, 12 , 930. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661919

Nguyen, H. T., Nakamura, K., Seino, K., & Vo, V. (2020). Relationships among cyberbullying, parental attitudes, self-harm and suicidal behavior among adolescents: Results from a school-based survey in Vietnam. BMC Public Health, 20 , 476. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08500-3

Oh, E. Y., Song, D., & Hong, H. (2020). Interactive computing technology in anti-bullying education: The effects of Conversation-Bot’s role on K-12 students’ attitude change toward bullying problems. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 58 , 200–219. https://doi.org/10.1177/0735633119839177

Peled, Y. (2019). Cyberbullying and its influence on academic, social, and emotional development of undergraduate students. Heliyon . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01393

Rafferty, R., & Vander Ven, T. (2014). “I Hate Everything About You”: A qualitative examination of cyberbullying and On-Line aggression in a college sample. Deviant Behavior, 35 , 364–377. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2013.849171

Rana, R., & Singhal, R. (2015). Chi-square test and its application in hypothesis testing. Journal of the Practice of Cardiovascular Sciences , 69–71.

Rasheed, M. I., Malik, M. J., Pitafi, A. H., Iqbal, J., Anser, M. K., & Abbas, M. (2020). Usage of social media, student engagement, and creativity: The role of knowledge sharing behavior and cyberbullying. Computers & Education, 159 , 104002. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2020.104002

Runions, K. C., Shaw, T., Bussey, K., Thornberg, R., Salmivalli, C., & Cross, D. S. (2019). Moral disengagement of pure bullies and bully/victims: Shared and distinct mechanisms. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48 , 1835–1848. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-019-01067-2

Sam, D., Bruce, D., Agyemang, C., Amponsah, B., & Arkoful, H. (2019). Cyberbullying victimization among high school and university students in Ghana. Deviant Behavior, 40 , 1305–1321. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639625.2018.1493369

Sarwar, B., Zulfiqa, S., Aziz, S., & Chandia, E. K. (2019). Usage of social media tools for collaborative learning: The effect on learning success with the moderating role of cyberbullying. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 57 , 246–279. https://doi.org/10.1177/0735633117748415

Sievert, C., & Shirley, K. E. (2014). LDAvis: A method for visualizing and interpreting topics. Workshop on Interactive Language Learning, Visualization, and Interfaces at the Association for Computational Linguistics . https://doi.org/10.13140/2.1.1394.3043

Singh, M., Adebayo, S. O., Saini, M., & Singh, J. (2021). Indian government E-learning initiatives in response to COVID-19 crisis: A case study on online learning in Indian higher education system. Education and Information Technologies, 26 , 7569–7607.

Steinfeld, N. (2021). Parental mediation of adolescent Internet use: Combining strategies to promote awareness, autonomy and self-regulation in preparing youth for life on the web. Education and Information Technologies, 26 , 1897–1920. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-020-10342-w

Tanrikulu, I., & Erdur-Baker, Ö. (2021). Motives behind cyberbullying perpetration: A test of uses and gratifications theory. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36 , NP6699–NP6724. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260518819882

Tao, X., & Fisher, C. B. (2022). Exposure to social media racial discrimination and mental health among adolescents of color. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 51 , 30–44. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-021-01514-z

UNICEF. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/ : https://www.unicef.org/end-violence/how-to-stop-cyberbullying

Wang, S. (2021). Standing up or standing by: Bystander intervention in cyberbullying on social media. New Media & Society, 23 , 1379–1397. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444820902541

Washington, E. T. (2015). An overview of cyberbullying in higher education. Adult Learning, 26 , 21–27. https://doi.org/10.1177/1045159514558412

Watts, L. K., Wagner, J., Velasquez, B., & Behrens, P. I. (2017). Cyberbullying in higher education: A literature review. Computers in Human Behavior, 69 , 268–274. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.038

Williams, A. (2003). How to … Write and Analyse a Questionnaire. Journal of Orthodontics, 30 , 245–252.

Yang, F. (2021). Coping strategies, cyberbullying behaviors, and depression among Chinese netizens during the COVID-19 pandemic: A web-based nationwide survey. Journal of Affective Disorders, 281 , 138–144. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.12.023

Yoshida, M. (2021). Investigation of university students’ behaviour in a Heterarchical twitter community. Education and Information Technologies, 26 , 3155–3174.

Yubero, S., Navarro, R., Elche, M., Larrañaga, E., & Ovejero, A. (2017). Cyberbullying victimization in higher education: An exploratory analysis of its association with social and emotional factors among Spanish students. Computers in Human Behavior, 75 , 439–449. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.05.037

Download references

Author information

Authors and affiliations.

Department of Computer Engineering and Technology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India

Manpreet Kaur & Munish Saini

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Manpreet Kaur .

Ethics declarations

Research involving human participants and/or animals.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's note.

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Kaur, M., Saini, M. Indian government initiatives on cyberbullying: A case study on cyberbullying in Indian higher education institutions. Educ Inf Technol 28 , 581–615 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-022-11168-4

Download citation

Received : 24 February 2022

Accepted : 14 June 2022

Published : 04 July 2022

Issue Date : January 2023

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-022-11168-4

Share this article

Anyone you share the following link with will be able to read this content:

Sorry, a shareable link is not currently available for this article.

Provided by the Springer Nature SharedIt content-sharing initiative

  • Cyberbullying
  • Government initiatives
  • Higher education
  • Social media
  • Find a journal
  • Publish with us
  • Track your research

Bullying Essay for Students and Children

500+ words essay on bullying.

Bullying refers to aggressive behavior so as to dominate the other person. It refers to the coercion of power over others so that one individual can dominate others. It is an act that is not one time, instead, it keeps on repeating over frequent intervals.  The person(s) who bullies others can be termed as bullies, who make fun of others due to several reasons. Bullying is a result of someone’s perception of the imbalance of power.

bullying essay

Types of bullying :

There can be various types of bullying, like:

  • Physical bullying:  When the bullies try to physically hurt or torture someone, or even touch someone without his/her consent can be termed as physical bullying .
  • Verbal bullying:  It is when a person taunts or teases the other person.
  • Psychological bullying:  When a person or group of persons gossip about another person or exclude them from being part of the group, can be termed as psychological bullying.
  • Cyber bullying:  When bullies make use of social media to insult or hurt someone. They may make comments bad and degrading comments on the person at the public forum and hence make the other person feel embarrassed. Bullies may also post personal information, pictures or videos on social media to deteriorate some one’s public image.

Read Essay on Cyber Bullying

Bullying can happen at any stage of life, such as school bullying, College bullying, Workplace bullying, Public Place bullying, etc. Many times not only the other persons but the family members or parents also unknowingly bully an individual by making constant discouraging remarks. Hence the victim gradually starts losing his/her self-esteem, and may also suffer from psychological disorders.

A UNESCO report says that 32% of students are bullied at schools worldwide. In our country as well, bullying is becoming quite common. Instead, bullying is becoming a major problem worldwide. It has been noted that physical bullying is prevalent amongst boys and psychological bullying is prevalent amongst girls.

Prevention strategies:

In the case of school bullying, parents and teachers can play an important role. They should try and notice the early symptoms of children/students such as behavioral change, lack of self-esteem, concentration deficit, etc. Early recognition of symptoms, prompt action and timely counseling can reduce the after-effects of bullying on the victim.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Anti-bullying laws :

One should be aware of the anti-bullying laws in India. Awareness about such laws may also create discouragement to the act of bullying amongst children and youngsters. Some information about anti-bullying laws is as follows:

  • Laws in School: To put a notice on the notice board that if any student is found bullying other students then he/she can be rusticated. A committee should be formed which can have representatives from school, parents, legal, etc.
  • Laws in Colleges: The government of India, in order to prevent ragging , has created guideline called “UGC regulations on curbing the menace of ragging in Higher Education Institutions,2009”.
  • Cyber Bullying Laws: The victim can file a complaint under the Indian Penal Code .


It is the duty of the parents to constantly preach their children about not bullying anyone and that it is wrong. Hence, if we, as a society need to grow and develop then we have to collectively work towards discouraging the act of bullying and hence make our children feel secure.

Customize your course in 30 seconds

Which class are you in.


  • Travelling Essay
  • Picnic Essay
  • Our Country Essay
  • My Parents Essay
  • Essay on Favourite Personality
  • Essay on Memorable Day of My Life
  • Essay on Knowledge is Power
  • Essay on Gurpurab
  • Essay on My Favourite Season
  • Essay on Types of Sports

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Download the App

Google Play

  • Share full article


Supported by

current events conversation

What Students Are Saying About Bullying Today

Teenagers tell us what it’s like to navigate the social world in the age of smartphones and social media.

Four young actresses from the new “Mean Girls” movie take a selfie wearing pink.

By The Learning Network

What is teenage bullying like today?

If you watched the recently released “Mean Girls” musical movie — a remake of the millennial classic that got at just how vicious, but coded, the dynamics among girls could be — you might come away with the impression that today’s teenagers are nicer, more attentive to people’s feelings, accepting of difference and less likely to hurl offensive insults at one another.

While that may be true to an extent, Jessica Bennet writes in the Opinion essay “ ‘Mean Girls’ Has Lost Its Bite. Girls Haven’t ,” the film doesn’t fully capture how “today’s technology has created innumerable new ways to enact that adolescent torture.”

We invited students to share their experiences with navigating today’s social world. Are teenagers kinder to one another these days? Or has bullying just become more subtle? See what they had to say below.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the conversation on our writing prompts this week, including students from Daniel Wright Junior High School in Lincolnshire, Ill. ; Hartselle High School in Hartselle, Ala. ; and Perris High School in Perris, Calif .

Please note: Student comments have been lightly edited for length, but otherwise appear as they were originally submitted.

What is bullying like today? Here’s what students told us:

It happens mainly online..

In real life, bullying seems much less obvious than in movies like “Mean Girls.” It may be passive aggressive, like how Jessica Bennett describes it as “constantly shift from hot to cold.” I know many people who may be the friendliest person at school but never respond to your texts, or vice versa. Exclusion also becomes much more common, where we can create group chats and choose who gets to be in them. A lot of times, people “brag” about being in “exclusive” or “popular” group chats, where they often degrade others behind their back. This happens way more than you might think, and pictures can easily circulate in these group chats, fueling the verbal abuse. Bullying now usually stems from judgment, especially since social media has set many standards for our behavior, appearance, hobbies, etc. It happens almost everyday and doesn’t seem like it will go away anytime soon with the rise of technology.

— Hailey, W.T. Clarke High School

What teenage bullying today is mostly cyberbullying, canceling and even gossiping in front of the person they’re making fun of. Most bullying happens by spreading embarrassing images of the person, texts, and even photoshopped texts and or messages. Which can be very upsetting. Teenagers mostly spread faulty gossip or made up actions they say the person said. For instance they could make up a lie saying that: “Sarah called Janet Attention Seeking” which will then make “Janet” not want to be “Sarah’s” friend anymore and could ruin a good friendship. It’s even harder now to trust people when social media is around. People can anonymously send you messages from “alt accounts” (Made up accounts) and you won’t even know who sent it. Bullies nowadays find out ways to hurt, exploit, and even harm you. Mentally or Physically.

— Juni Bee, Hawa’ii

Bullying today is a lot more secretive with social media. In school I have never actually witnessed bullying other than talking secretly about a person behind their back, nothing major. But while online I have seen the worst of bullying. I have seen mean comments on post of non sugar coating bullying. They critique and immediately judge if they don’t like what someone is doing. Lots of people are judged for their sexuality, identity, social status, opinions and almost near everything.

It can be simple like unfriending someone on a game and telling them you got hacked, or maybe have everyone leave the group chat so that one person is all alone. Girls are known for this stuff but boys are worse. I know people who give death threats over video games … This generation is born with a natural ability to cause pain to others without physical pain.

— Sawyer, Houghton High School

Sometimes in very subtle ways.

Social media has definitely made everything more exclusive … It’s so incredibly easy to just leave someone out, like removing someone from the group chat or removing them from your close friend list. This starts to make everything a competition, with your friendship being defined on how many times you post your best friend or if they’re in your private stories.

— Estella, Daniel Wright Junior High School

On TikTok, you can see when someone views your profile, and videos. So, you can quite literally see that someone watched your video but did not like it. It also shows how long they watch the video for in statistics. For someone whose notifications say that 95% of viewers scroll before even watching the whole video, it can be really painful to know nobody really cares about what they posted, making them think nobody really cares about them. In my school bullying is a huge problem, but everyone pretends like it’s not there, because it’s done in a way where you have almost nothing to prove that you’re being bullied.

— Gabriella, Valley Stream

…[I]f someone leaves you on seen or sent on a message could make you feel hurt inside because they think they’re getting ignored. Of course, the people who are leaving the other person’s text message on delivered would take the issue that it’s not a big deal at all to not text back in a good amount of time … however if they did text back in short amount of the time the person who felt ignored at first will now not feel ignored at all and they wouldn’t feel like they’re getting bullied.

— C.M, California

It is often anonymous.

With phones and technology, you can spread hateful things without people knowing it’s you so you feel that you are safer and can do it more.

— Dominick, Valley Stream North High School

Since the world is more social media-based, people from other parts of the world could say something about you and you wouldn’t know who did it. People might say, just block them, but time and time again, the assaulter will most likely make more and more accounts until you think it is worthless to block them because you think he will always come back. So you just let them keep sending you mean messages until you are at your breaking point …

— James, Vanden High

And difficult to detect and punish.

Cyberbullying can be completely out of the public view, making it that much more dangerous. Unless the bully or the person getting bullied shares the messages, no one would be privy to what’s happening behind the screen. When you text, it only goes to a select group of people, excluding all others. Phones, therefore, have begun making bullying and our lives more secretive, more subtle, and more insidious.

Because of the hidden nature of cyberbullying, adults also tend to be less aware of its existence, and can, therefore, not lend discipline to the bullies, letting the mind and words of a teenager run uninhibited and wild against another teen. So, the effects of bullying are bad, but the effects of cyberbullying and our phones might be worse.

— Ana, East Lyme High School

Nowadays the schools have been preventing and stopping bullying a lot, so there is not much bullying that happens physically. There aren’t many people who just directly cause bullying because usually the school recognizes it and helps the victim easily. But unfortunately, as the protection from bullying developed, the way of bullying people has developed too, and is dense. The most used way of bullying nowadays is caused by social media, which is now the most common thing for people. The bullying is also not direct, which makes it harder to punish the bullies. These bullies make their victims think they are one of the group and are friends, but actually they are not.

— Jeremy, korea

Social media has created a new wave of bullying types. The unfortunate part is that schools do not have a handle on how to “regulate” or provide a clear direction on how to support those who get bullied outside of school. As a result, bullying will continue because many parents will claim “kids are being kids” and schools will claim “this is outside of our jurisdiction,” while most students will claim “oh, it was just a joke.” It’s a sad cycle of events.

— Bre, Atlanta, GA

It can be really confusing.

I agree that bullying today looks a lot different than bullying in the past. Though I have never “soft blocked” anyone, I have restricted them, or removed them as a friend (leaving them as a follower). Often this is for my own good. If that person has left me hurt, or they do not treat me correctly, I remove them. On the flip side, it is easier to get hurt when people hide behind screens. People tend to be more confident to say what is on their chest when eye contact does not have to be made. It does make living in today’s world a lot more confusing. As a teen, I am learning how to decode emojis and punctuation, as well as how long to wait to reply and what song will send the best message.

— Bailey, Ellisville

I’ve experienced friends who were on and off with me and would always be all buddy buddy at school but then they would leave me on Open and wouldn’t talk to me outside of school. They give mixed signals and leave you wondering what you did wrong.

— Tabbi, Gray, Maine

I feel like bullying has changed so much from out loud comments everyone can hear, to whispers to their friends that end up spreading throughout the school or cyberbullying on phones. It is very confusing for kids to see someone and talk to them everyday then go home and be left on read.

— Evelyn, Arkansas

Bullying being passive in my opinion is more dangerous than upfront bullying. Passive bullying can lead to the person who is receiving the bullying not being sure altogether if they’re being bullied or not. That idea of uncertainty is so dangerous to people. Feelings of resentment or hate towards people who you think are bullying you may emerge when in fact they’re not bullying you at all. On the other hand, you may end up in a situation where you believe someone is your friend when in fact they bully you.

— Nico, AFS

And there’s no break from it.

If I were to add to the article I’d point out how exhausting it is for teens to be on top of everything 24/7. With the addition of technology, there is a constant pressure to share your life with your peers, even outside of school when you wouldn’t normally interact with a vast majority of your classmates. Talking to my parents has made me realize that this level of connectivity and exclusivity is very recent, and not a very positive change. Back when they were in high school they never worried about a bad picture of them being posted and shared online or when they weren’t added to a group chat.

— Chloe, Michigan

Especially with social media thrown into the mix, bullying victims can’t even feel safe in their own friend groups. Now, it’s almost as though we’re living in one big popularity contest, basing our own worth off of our followers, number of friends, and likes. This more modern system of bullying leaves you questioning your own worth, which is truly the most clever and sickening form of adolescent torture.

— Lily, Fayetteville, Arkansas

I constantly think about what it would be like to be a high schooler 25 years ago. If you wanted to bully someone, you would have to do it face-to-face. And when you were at home, that was your safe place. Now you are surrounded by negativity every minute of every day.

— Emily, Baker Highschool

It still happens at school, too.

Exclusion isn’t just limited to social media, though. I don’t have to worry about cafeteria table drama, since I don’t really sit with anyone to begin with, but I don’t think I’m paranoid for thinking a lot of people don’t see me as an equal. I’m no stranger to being patronized and treated as a kid, even from people much younger than me. Some people in my classes love to randomly talk to me or ask me questions, only to laugh at me when I respond.

Plus, as much as we want to think things have gotten better in terms of inclusivity, we still have a long way to go. I still hear slurs and other offensive language almost every day at school. People are more than eager to make fun of anyone they find too weird.

— Mikey, Valley Stream

In the hallways at high school, you hear kids yelling slurs at each other or making noises or even saying harsh comments to one another. The girls are mostly the problem because they hang out in their cliques and like to pick on others because they believe that they aren’t as uppity as they are. I noticed that kids still harass one another for their facial features, specifically teeth, noses, foreheads, eyebrows, and lips. This generation is so sad with the amount of bullying that there is on a daily basis.

Students want it to end.

You are already going through changes in that stage of your life, you do not need bullies making it harder on you. Someone has to step up and stand up for what is right. It is unfair for students to have to go to school everyday and worry about whether they will get bullied or not. Although some people may think that bullying is not a big deal, it is. This is something students have been dealing with all of their life. As a nation, we need to stand up and help one another because you never know what the person next to you is going through.

— Gracie, Hartselle High School

Teenagers also need to make sure they are talking to an adult because many teens are depressed and suicidal. Parents also need to be more aware of their words toward their kids because some parents will bully THEIR OWN CHILDREN after they just experienced bullying at school. People need to pay more attention to what they say and how they say it because it can really hurt someone.

— Mylea, CNY

I also feel that people who aren’t part of the “norm” of life tend to get targeted and picked on a bit more. What I mean by out of the “norm” would mean people who are part of the lgbtq+ community and people that might be “emo” or “goth.” I feel that parents, teachers, adults, kids, and just everyone in general should try to reach out and be kind to one another. Don’t just judge someone by their looks or how they talk, really get to know them and who knows maybe your best friend is right there in plain sight.

— J, Hawaii

Learn more about Current Events Conversation here and find all of our posts in this column .

case study essay about bullying

  • Free Case Studies
  • Business Essays

Write My Case Study

Buy Case Study

Case Study Help

  • Case Study For Sale
  • Case Study Service
  • Hire Writer

Analytical Essay: The Reasons for Bullying

Bullying can cause real misery and depression to the extent that it can destroy people’s lives.

As a result, bullies are often greatly disliked and punished harshly, as they should be, but it is also important to understand the reasons for bullying so that the bully can be helped too. While we all know that it is important to help the victims of bullying, the bullies need to be helped too, or they will continue to be unhappy and will probably go on and bully others. This is one of the solutions for bullying.One main cause of bullying is for bullies to try and make themselves look big in front of other people. They think that if they pick on somebody smaller and weaker than them, then they will look bigger and stronger by comparison. Bullies usually do this for popularity, even though people usually fear them rather than actually like them, by making themselves look ‘good’ in front of friends and potential friends.

We Will Write a Custom Case Study Specifically For You For Only $13.90/page!

Differently, but also for popularity, other people also bully others because of peer pressure, perhaps because their friends are bullying someone and they do not want to be cast out from the group for not joining in.Both of these causes really come down to a lack of self-esteem, and this in itself can have a number of different causes. Many bullies have been bullied themselves, which is why it is important to always help the bullies as well as the victims. They have been belittled by others, so they then have to try and prove that they are better than someone else so that they don’t feel that they are below everyone.Many bullies also have a very unhappy home life, and then bully for a number of different reasons.

This home life could be the cause of a lack of self-esteem, especially if they are abused by their parents, or they could be bullying for other reasons. It could just be that they have never been taught how to behave correctly because they have never had any positive role models, or their parents are nasty to them so they just think that it is completely normal. In other cases, people start bullying because they are acting out and trying to get attention. This is often the case with children and young people who feel ignored by their families and want to get their attention in any way possible.All in all, there are a numerous different reasons for bullying, and they vary from person to person.

It is important to understand a bully’s personal motives though, because only then can we help them and stop them from hurting others.

Related posts:

  • Argumentative Essay: Solution for Bullying
  • Cause & Effect Essay: Bullying
  • Comparison Essay: Parenting Style and Bullying
  • Bullying And Its Effect On Bullying
  • Bullying Causes Suicide – Descriptive essay
  • Essay On Bullying: Personal Story Of A High School Bully
  • Essay about technology advantages and disadvantages – Analytical Essay

' src=

Quick Links

Privacy Policy

Terms and Conditions


Our Services

Case Study Writing Service

Case Studies For Sale

Our Company

Welcome to the world of case studies that can bring you high grades! Here, at ACaseStudy.com, we deliver professionally written papers, and the best grades for you from your professors are guaranteed!

[email protected] 804-506-0782 350 5th Ave, New York, NY 10118, USA

Acasestudy.com © 2007-2019 All rights reserved.

case study essay about bullying

Hi! I'm Anna

Would you like to get a custom case study? How about receiving a customized one?

Haven't Found The Case Study You Want?

For Only $13.90/page

U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official. Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure. The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

  • Publications
  • Account settings

Preview improvements coming to the PMC website in October 2024. Learn More or Try it out now .

  • Advanced Search
  • Journal List
  • Int J Environ Res Public Health

Logo of ijerph

Prevalence, Antecedents, and Consequences of Workplace Bullying among Nurses—A Summary of Reviews

Hongli sam goh.

1 IPE Management School Paris, 21 Rue Erard, 75012 Paris, France; moc.liamg@shgrun

Siti Hosier

2 Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117597, Singapore; gs.ude.sun@hzrun

Despite over 25 years of extensive research about the workplace bullying phenomenon in various disciplines, there have been mixed conclusions about its prevalence, antecedents, and consequences among nurses reported by multiple systematic reviews. This summary review used the Cochrane’s Overview of Reviews method to examine the prevalence, antecedents, coping behaviors, and consequences of workplace bullying among nurses to understand the interplay of these variables in healthcare workplace contexts. A total of 12 systematic reviews published between 2013 and 2020 were included based on the eligibility criteria. There were differences in workplace bullying prevalence across different reviews, ranging from 1 to 90.4%, but a more recent review estimated the pooled prevalence at 26.3%. This review identified at least five main types of antecedents for workplace bullying: demographics, personality, organizational culture, work characteristics, and leadership and hierarchy. Workplace bullying affected nurses, organizational outcomes, and patient safety. This review proposes an integrative model to explain workplace bullying among nurses and highlights the need for more studies to evaluate interventions to address this phenomenon.

1. Introduction

Nursing has long been recognized as a challenging career, which is beset with workplace adversities, such as stress and bullying, of which the latter warrants a cause for concern. Nurse bullying is not new and has been the subject of research studies for over 25 years. This phenomenon was suggested to affect nurses in the United States (US) more than 100 years ago based on a New York Times article in 1909, “The hospital tyrants” [ 1 ]. Unfortunately, despite years of research in this area, nurses continue to experience bullying today as many leaders, institutions, and even the nurses themselves either deny its existence or accept it as the norm, creating a culture of silence that impedes solutions to the problem [ 1 ].

Within the broader literature, Nielsen and Einarsen defined workplace bullying as extensive exposure to repeated negative behaviors at the workplace, leaving individuals to feel defenseless against such behaviors [ 2 ]. Within the nursing literature, workplace bullying is an umbrella term for most types of workplace aggression and violence, ranging from emotional neglect to threats of violence and physical assault [ 3 ]. Terms that fall under this umbrella include incivility, harassment, and workplace violence. The subject has been extensively studied internationally, across disciplines, particularly within healthcare settings [ 3 ]. Workplace bullying occurs when individuals perceive that they are the target of negative actions from one or more persons over time.

According to Trépanier et al. [ 4 ], up to 40% of nurses faced bullying behaviors at work, while Houck and Colbert [ 3 ] reported prevalence rates ranging from 26 to 77%. These figures suggest that the healthcare industry seems to be acutely affected by this phenomenon. In contrast, a systematic review, which examined non-healthcare studies, reports an estimated global prevalence of only 15%, suggesting that workplace bullying in general workplace settings might be less prevalent than in a healthcare context [ 5 ]. The high bullying prevalence rate reported among nurses warrants an urgent need for nurse leaders to address this issue.

The high prevalence rate of workplace bullying among nurses is alarming given the consequences and impact on nurses and organizations. Exposure to bullying is associated with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and psychological distress in nurses [ 6 , 7 ], as well as somatic physical health problems, including insomnia and headache [ 8 ]. Workplace bullying can also undermine nurses’ professional well-being, decreasing engagement and quality of work motivation, and increasing absenteeism, turnover, and burnout symptoms [ 4 , 9 , 10 ].

There have been multiple systematic reviews that evaluated workplace bullying in nursing. Most of them reported mixed or inconclusive findings of the prevalence, antecedents, and consequences to address workplace bullying due to the heterogeneity in study designs, measurement instruments, and contextual variations across the included studies. For example, some reviews examined workplace bullying prevalence only, while others focused on its triggering factors. Still, other reviews only focus on specific consequences of workplace bullying [ 1 , 2 ]. The different reviews make it difficult for nursing leaders to comprehend the scope and extent of workplace bullying, much less know how to manage or address it. Castronovo et al. [ 1 ] lamented the persistent existence of these problems despite years of research in this area. In light of the varied conclusions, we decided to conduct a summary review with the aim of summarizing the findings from existing systematic reviews, which examined the prevalence, antecedents, and consequences of workplace bullying among nurses to understand the interplay of these variables within healthcare. At the end of the review, these findings will be used to develop a theoretical framework for analyzing workplace bullying in nursing.

2. Materials and Methods

The summary review of systematic reviews was conducted using Cochrane’s Overview of Reviews method to synthesize reviews examining workplace bullying and its prevalence, trend, antecedents, consequences, and interventions. There have been extensive publications of studies in nursing and healthcare literature. This method was adopted because it provides an explicit and structured approach to extract and analyze results across the topic of interest [ 11 ]. As there have been multiple reviews that focus on different aspects of workplace bullying, this method allows us to compare strengths of evidence derived from varied review designs to draw meaningful conclusions. Finally, the Cochrane Overview of Reviews method allows us to summarize the findings from different reviews about workplace bullying for clinicians and decision-makers rather than leaving them to assimilate the results of multiple systematic reviews themselves [ 12 ]. The Cochrane’s Overview of Reviews method comprises five steps: (i) defining the review and questions; (ii) outlining the search strategy to retrieve systematic reviews (with or without meta-analyses); (iii) establishing clear eligibility criteria for article selection; (iv) extraction of data from each review, including its characteristics, risk of bias and outcomes; and (v) collation and summary of results in accordance to the specific objectives or questions of the review [ 11 ].

2.1. Defining the Review Questions

Three questions for the summary review were developed based on the authors’ preliminary literature review:

  • What are the prevalence and trends in workplace bullying among nurses?
  • What are the antecedents for workplace bullying among nurses?
  • What are the consequences of workplace bullying for nurses?

2.2. Search Strategy

A comprehensive literature search was conducted between April 2021 and December 2021 to search for relevant systematic reviews using the following key search terms and related text words: ‘workplace bullying,’ ‘nurs*,’ and ‘review.’ The search for literature was limited to those published within the past ten years, as this paper aimed to provide a comprehensive review of all recently published reviews on nurse bullying. A total of seven electronic databases were searched: PubMed, ScienceDirect, Medline, Scopus, CINAHL, Web of Science, and PsycINFO. The search was conducted using different combinations of exact keywords on titles and abstracts. Thereafter, the retrieved articles were screened for relevance to the review questions.

2.3. Article Selection

The selection of the studies was conducted independently by two authors based on the eligibility criteria. Disagreement during the selection was resolved by discussion with a third-party arbiter. The inclusion criteria were: (i) derived from a systematic review; (ii) involved nursing professionals; (iii) addressed the review questions; and (iv) published in English. In addition, we excluded studies that were merely literature reviews or any other review that did not demonstrate a systematic process, did not focus on nurses, or were published in other languages with no English translation. The decision-making process and the search results at each step of the course are depicted in the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) diagram ( Figure 1 ).

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is ijerph-19-08256-g001.jpg

PRISMA diagram.

2.4. Data Extraction and Quality Assessment

Data were extracted by one author (SG) and verified by another (ZH) for relevancy and accuracy. The two authors then independently extracted the data, including the review objectives, design, search strategy, number of included studies and sample size, geographical location, main findings, and quality appraisal using the ROBIS tool. The ROBIS tool was developed by clinicians at Bristol Medical School with the aim of providing an effective yet robust method to assess the risk of bias for systematic review, and has been recommended by Cochrane for the review method [ 13 ]. The tool can also be used to compare the overall risk of bias across various reviews to derive meaningful comparison and contrast of the various findings [ 13 ]. When there was a disagreement on the quality of an article, this would be resolved through discussion with a third author (SH) until consensus was achieved. An annotated bibliography was developed to tabulate the characteristics and findings of the studies. The reference management software Mendeley and Microsoft Excel were used to sort the records.

A total of 12 reviews about workplace bullying were included in this summary review ( Table 1 ). The types of reviews included were: quantitative systematic reviews ( n = 2), mixed-methods systematic reviews ( n = 1), integrative reviews ( n = 5), narrative reviews or systematic reviews with qualitative synthesis ( n = 3), and scoping reviews ( n = 1). The samples ranged from 61 to 151,347 participants, and the number of databases searched among the reviews ranged from 3 to 8. The reviews were published between 2013 and 2020, and included studies that were published from the earliest date to 2019. With the exception of one review, which focused solely on studies from Australia [ 14 ], most reviews included studies from different countries. Most of the studies were conducted in North America, Europe, and Australia compared to other regions. Rutherford et al. attributed this observation to the inclusion criteria of mostly English-language papers by most reviews and that most journals and databases use English for communication [ 15 ]. The summary review also assessed the methodological quality of all 12 reviews, as shown in Table 2 . Based on the overall quality assessment of the included reviews, only one review was at low risk of bias for the overall study [ 16 ].

Summary table for included systematic reviews.

Legend: WB (Workplace bullying); USA (United States of America); WI (workplace incivility), LV (lateral violence); ASSIA (Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts); BSP (Business Source Premier); CINAHL (Cumulated Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature); Embase (Excerpta Medica database); JBI (Joanna Briggs Institute); MEDLINE (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online); IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences); Q1 (Question 1—What are the prevalence in workplace bullying in nursing studies?) Q2 (Question 2—What are the antecedents for workplace bullying in nursing?); Q3 (Question 3—What are the consequences of workplace bullying in nursing?).

Quality appraisal of included systematic reviews.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is ijerph-19-08256-i001.jpg

3.1. Question 1—What Are the Prevalence and Trends in Workplace Bullying among Nurses?

Seven reviews addressed the prevalence of workplace bullying within the nursing and healthcare literature ( Table 3 ). Two reviews conducted a pooled estimation of workplace bullying prevalence and reported a mean prevalence of 26.3 and 66.9% among nurses [ 8 , 18 ]. Spector et al. seemed to be the most comprehensive review between these two reviews, having conducted a quantitative review of 136 healthcare studies on the global nursing violence literature to examine the extent (prevalence), sources, and subtypes of bullying and violence across countries and prevalence. They reported workplace bullying prevalence ranges from 57.6% in hospital settings to 67.7% in psychiatric settings. The mean percentage of perceived bullying also varied across different geographical regions: Middle East (86.5%), Anglo (39.5%), Asia (29.8%), and Europe (8.8%). The highest rate of non-physical violence from peers and colleagues occurred among nurses working in Asia (50.2%), followed by the Middle East (44.9%), Anglo countries (US, Canada, UK, and Australia) (37.4%), and Europe (27.6%). Asian, Anglo, and Middle Eastern nurses suffered similar rates of physical violence at 7.3, 6.6, and 6.0%, respectively. Similarly, a more recent quantitative systematic review involving 45 studies reported a lower percentage of workplace bullying among nurses. They have classified workplace bullying in general terms, demonstrating that the trend in workplace prevalence among nurses has remained vastly varied across different regions [ 8 ].

Summary table of prevalence rate for workplace bullying among nurses.

There were vast differences in workplace bullying prevalence across all seven reviews, with one review reporting the greatest prevalence range from 1 to 90.4% [ 8 ]. Other reviews also reported a similar prevalence range [ 8 , 22 ]. The vast discrepancies in the reported bullying rates across different nursing studies might suggest regional and country differences in the workplace bullying incidence rates and sources of violence, making it difficult for researchers to grasp its extent and impact. One possible explanation for such discrepancies could be that some countries or cultures may trivialize or pay little attention to the problem, leading to under-reporting issues (Spector et al., 2014). Another reason could be the different ways bullying is defined and measured, inconsistent research methods, and an absence of longitudinal studies [ 24 ]. The current lack of local data on the extent of the phenomenon could impede nursing leaders from developing and implementing tailored interventions to address these issues in their specific settings.

Workplace bullying seems more prevalent in hospitals’ high-stress work environments, such as emergency departments, operating theaters, intensive care units, and surgical and psychiatric settings [ 20 , 22 , 23 ]. However, this trend might not be generalizable across different countries, as Bambi et al. highlighted obstetrics wards as the most affected units in public hospitals in Cape Town, South Africa. Additionally, it appears that nurses in Asian and Middle Eastern countries have a higher prevalence of workplace bullying, and physical and non-physical violence than their counterparts from other regions [ 8 , 18 ].

3.2. Question 2—What Are the Antecedents for Workplace Bullying among Nurses?

Five reviews identified five antecedents for workplace bullying within the nursing and healthcare literature ( Table 4 ). Among the five reviews, the most comprehensive was Karatuna et al.’s scoping review, which included 166 studies on workplace bullying among nurses. The review was also the most recent, with included studies published between 2001 and 2019. Hence, we used their review to guide the categorization of antecedents into five main types: demographics, personality, organizational culture, work characteristics, and leadership. These five antecedents can also be grouped under two main layers of antecedents—individual-level or organizational-level [ 21 ].

Summary table of antecedents for workplace bullying.

3.2.1. Individual-Level Antecedents

Individual antecedents include demographics and personality traits of individuals who contributed to the occurrence of workplace bullying. The results showed some similarities in the demographical antecedents of bullying across clusters that differ in their cultural practices. In terms of demographics, they found that most studies reported no associations between gender, education level, marital status, and workplace bullying. Conversely, age and length of experience/service were found to be negatively associated with workplace bullying. Other demographical antecedents were found to vary across different geographical clusters and subject to the different socio-cultural and politico-economic influences. For example, nurses considered “vulnerable” to workplace bullying in Anglo countries belong to a certain race, ethnicity, or disability, while those in Latin America and Eastern Europe have children. For personality characteristics, nurses with less locus of control, psychological capital, or poor compliance to social norms were associated with a greater risk of workplace bullying than others [ 16 ].

3.2.2. Organizational-Level Antecedents

Organizational-level antecedents included leadership, work characteristics, and organizational culture. For example, an organizational culture that is performance-oriented is more likely to tolerate workplace bullying, while cultures that emphasize people-orientation tolerate such behaviors if the group views the victim as inconsistent with social norms or misaligned with the organizational structure and hierarchy [ 16 ]. These findings highlighted group inclusivity within the organization, which is highly dependent and varies according to the larger socio-cultural context.

As for work characteristics, Karatuna et al. (2020) reported that negative work environments and characteristics include work overload, staffing shortages, and stressful working conditions. These variables were found to be reported across all clusters. Trépanier et al. [ 4 ] conducted a systematic literature review specifically examining work-related antecedents of workplace bullying in nursing and retrieved 12 relevant studies. They reported similar results to Karatuna et al. based on their four categories of work-related antecedents: (1) job characteristics, (2) quality of interpersonal relationships, (3) leadership styles, and (4) organizational culture. They found that nurses’ better job characteristics, higher quality of interpersonal working relationships, people-centric leadership styles, and positive organizational culture (promoting staff empowerment, distributive justice, and zero tolerance for bullying) were associated with less workplace bullying. Pfeifer and Vessey [ 19 ] conducted an integrative review focusing on examining bullying issues among nurses in Magnet ® organizations, which are designated hospitals that meet the quality benchmark for providing quality of care and nursing excellence. They found 11 articles (eight quantitative and three qualitative studies). Their review demonstrated emerging evidence on how a positive work environment could contribute to reduced reports of verbal abuse, incivilities, and hostile encounters from colleagues. Despite the positive and significant findings, Pfeifer and Vessey cautioned that workplace bullying can still affect nurses in the Magnet ® environment and highlighted the complex interplay of individual and organizational factors in influencing the occurrences of workplace bullying [ 19 ].

Leadership and hierarchy seem to mediate in organizational culture and work characteristics. For example, Karatuna et al. reported that autocratic, unsupportive, and disengaged leadership perpetuates high-power distance clusters and increased bullying behaviors [ 16 ]. On the other hand, Trépanier et al. [ 4 ] found three studies examining how authentic (positive) leadership significantly reduced workplace bullying and burnout reports. All four reviews stated positive leadership mediated the workplace environmental factors by promoting a climate of trust, positive collegial relationships, and mitigating stressful work environments and workplace bullying events [ 4 , 16 , 21 , 22 ].

3.3. Question 3—What Are the Consequences of Workplace Bullying for Nurses?

The workplace culture and pervasive nature of bullying have a significant negative impact on nurses, organizations, and patient outcomes. Nine reviews reported the consequences of workplace bullying among nurses [ 3 , 8 , 14 , 16 , 17 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 23 ]. The summary review generated five types of consequences: psychosocial well-being, physical well-being, work performance, organizational impact, and patient outcomes ( Table 5 ).

Summary table of consequences of workplace bullying.

3.3.1. Psychosocial Well-Being

From the literature, workplace bullying affects nurses’ psychosocial well-being. Hartin et al. [ 25 ] conducted an integrative review of 23 Australian nursing studies. They reported that nurses who experienced workplace bullying faced greater risks of poor psychosocial outcomes such as psychological distress, depression, and burnout. It also undermines the nurses’ professional confidence and decreases their self-worth, motivation, and work ethic. In another systematic review, Johnson and Benham-Hutchins [ 23 ] reported similar psychosocial consequences of bullying, including increased stress, somatic symptoms, frustration, absenteeism, and lack of concentration. These findings were retrieved from 14 relevant nursing studies conducted in multiple healthcare settings, suggesting the significance of the issues in nursing. Of the nursing population, Hawkins et al. [ 22 ] suggested that workplace bullying might affect new graduate nurses, particularly as this group mainly holds subordinate positions and experiences much uncertainty during their adaption to the workplace. They conducted an integrative review of studies that examined this phenomenon among new graduate nurses and found 16 studies from Canada, the US, Australia, Korea, Singapore, and Ireland. They reported similar consequences on the new nurses, specifically, job satisfaction, burnout, intention to leave, and turnover.

3.3.2. Physical Well-Being

Based on two reviews, workplace bullying is also reported to affect nurses’ physical well-being. The review by Johnson and Benham-Hutchins [ 23 ] found one study that surveyed 248 nurses in the Midwest US using an electronic questionnaire and found that work-related bullying showed a highly significant positive relationship with psychological/behavioral responses. However, they did not specify the types of physical outcomes being affected. In another review, Karatuna et al. [ 16 ] reported headache, tachycardia, fatigue, sleep disorders, and pseudo-neurological and gastrointestinal complaints as common physiological health outcomes of workplace bullying in their review of 166 studies in different countries. Lever et al. conducted a systematic review specifically looking at the health consequences in the healthcare workplace [ 8 ]. They retrieved 45 studies published between 2005 and 2017, with 40 studies examining mental health outcomes and 15 on physical health. They reported that nurses who encountered workplace bullying face a greater risk of developing sleep-related issues, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and to a lesser extent, back and joint pain and blood pressure changes. As a result, these staff are more likely to report sick leave than those not affected by workplace bullying [ 8 ].

3.3.3. Work Performance

The review outlines two types of organizational-related consequences from the review. The first is about the nurses’ work performance. Workplace bullying reduces nursing performance by affecting nurses’ state of mind and impairs their ability to seek help at work, engage in effective and timely communication, and make clinical judgments. As a result, nurses cannot deliver patient care in a safe and effective manner. Hutchinson and Jackson [ 17 ] conducted a mixed-methods systematic review to determine how workplace bullying can affect patient care. They found 30 appropriate studies and conducted a content analysis to generate four themes: (1) physician–nurse relations and patient care, (2) nurse–nurse bullying, intimidation, and patient care, (3) reduced nurse performance related to exposure to hostile clinician behaviors, and (4) nurses and physicians directly implicating patients. The first two themes highlighted that physicians and nursing colleagues were the two main sources of bullying behaviors. In comparison, the last two themes revealed how bullying behaviors reduce nurses’ work performance. They reported that nurses affected by workplace bullying were reported to (1) avoid or delay effective communication, (2) experience poor concentration at work, preventing them from delivering safe and effective nursing care, (3) fail to raise safety concerns and seek assistance, and (4) become hostile and perpetrators of similar bullying behaviors.

3.3.4. Organizational Impact

The second organizational-related consequence is the organizational impact. Hartin et al. reported that workplace bullying decreases nurses’ job satisfaction and productivity, such as increased absenteeism and committing errors during work [ 25 ]. Johnson and Benham-Hutchins [ 23 ] reported that workplace bullying created a negative and hostile work environment, where teamwork and communication are being impeded. Both reviews reported that this indirectly leads to decreased job satisfaction, increased intention to quit, and staff turnover/attrition rate, leading to a higher organizational cost due to recruitment and retention difficulties. Crawford et al. analyzed 21 studies involving nursing students, new graduates, and experienced and academic faculty [ 21 ]. They reported that new graduate nurses face a higher risk of workplace bullying and difficulty coping with their new role. This situation is especially significant if the workplace environment is perceived as hostile, toxic, and unforgiving. If not managed properly, these events could negatively impact new nurses’ transition experiences and result in impaired peer relations and even higher staff attrition.

3.3.5. Patient Outcomes

In terms of patient outcomes, workplace bullying indirectly influences patient outcomes by negatively affecting nurses’ work performance. Houck and Colbert conducted an integrative review to examine the association between workplace bullying and patient safety outcomes [ 3 ]. They retrieved 11 studies conducted between 1995 and March 2016 in Anglo countries (US, Canada, UK, and Australia). They reported seven patient safety consequences of workplace bullying: (1) patient falls, (2) errors in treatments or medications, (3) patient satisfaction or patient complaints, (4) adverse event or patient mortality, (5) altered thinking or concentration, (6) silence or inhibited communication, and (7) delayed care. Among these themes, the first four were reported as patient-related consequences of workplace bullying. The last three revolved around the negative impact on nursing performance related to patient safety. These findings concur with the review by Hutchinson and Jackson [ 17 ] about patient-related consequences. They also reported similar outcomes such as medication errors, surgical errors, and failure to report clinical issues of concern resulting in adverse events. Additionally, Hutchinson and Jackson highlighted how open displays of workplace bullying could erode patients’ confidence in nurses’ capability and instances of how bullied nurses may, in turn, display hostile behaviors or non-emphatic care, resulting in poor patient satisfaction [ 23 ].

4. Discussion

Workplace bullying is a complex and dynamic social phenomenon that generates various definitions and concepts, making it hard to unify or standardize. Instead, our summary review compared nursing and non-healthcare literature to provide an overview of the various concepts and terms about workplace bullying, as shown in Table 6 [ 2 , 4 , 22 , 26 , 27 , 28 , 29 , 30 , 31 ].

Summary of concepts, terms, measurement tools, and theories for workplace bullying in nursing and non-healthcare literature.

* more commonly used in nursing literature.

4.1. Prevalence and Trends of Workplace Bullying among Nurses

The prevalence rate of workplace bullying varies widely. Nevertheless, there is empirical evidence to show the widespread prevalence of workplace bullying in nursing across different countries and healthcare contexts when the data is considered collectively from the included systematic reviews. The review by Lever et al. [ 8 ] showed that the pooled workplace bullying prevalence among nurses is estimated at 26.3%, which was similar to the pooled prevalence rate of 22% as reported by a Korean-language systematic review that examined 23 nursing studies [ 32 ]. However, it was higher than the prevalence rate of 11 to 18%, as reported by a non-nursing systematic review and meta-analysis that extracted 86 studies from various industry fields [ 5 ]. The higher-than-average prevalence rate observed in the healthcare sector could be attributed to several factors, including the highly stressful environment faced by healthcare professionals around the world, availability of reporting systems, and greater staff willingness to recognize and report workplace bullying events [ 8 , 18 ].

A remarkable proportion of nurses in hospital settings have experienced workplace violence, with bullying being the most common. The international variation in workplace bullying prevalence could be due to differences in sample size, type of measurement used, organizational/service setting, and reporting culture [ 2 , 8 , 18 ]. We attributed the extreme prevalence rate, either too high or too low, to the following reasons: (1) poorly defined or inconsistent terms; (2) different measurement tools used to measure workplace bullying events; (3) under-reporting due to a lack of reporting system or fear of repercussions; (4) over-sensitive reporting. Therefore, researchers need to consider the study designs, socio-cultural, and organizational contexts when interpreting the prevalence rates. Additionally, it is good for researchers to consider measuring other indirect measures of workplace bullying, such as job satisfaction, intention to leave, etc.

4.2. Antecedents of Workplace Bullying among Nurses

Workplace bullying can stem from various triggering factors (antecedents) and develop through multiple sources. We identified at least five main types of antecedents. These five can be grouped under two main levels: individual and organizational antecedents ( Table 3 ). Although Johnson (2011) and Samnani and Singh (2012) have suggested the role of societal-level antecedents, such as the societal culture of individualism versus collectivism [ 29 , 33 ], we concurred with the findings by Karatuna et al. that both individual and organizational antecedents exert an overlapping but greater immediate effect on workplace bullying than societal cultures or norms [ 16 ]. This proposition can also be explained by two dominant workplace bullying doctrines: the work environment hypothesis and the individual-dispositions hypothesis [ 31 ]. It is important to note that these antecedents were not mutually exclusive, but reflect the dynamic and mutual interactions between situational and individual factors within the workplace [ 31 ]. The findings from this summary review were also consistent with other rigorous reviews in other fields [ 2 , 16 , 30 , 34 ].

4.3. Consequences of Workplace Bullying among Nurses

This summary review also shows that workplace bullying has many detrimental consequences, not only in terms of the health and well-being of nurses, but also patient safety. For example, Lever et al. reported 45 studies highlighting the mental and physical problems that have afflicted nurses who encountered workplace bullying [ 8 ]. These issues could lead to more staff taking sick leave and providing less-than-effective care at work. In addition, Hutchinson and Jackson found 30 studies demonstrating how workplace bullying reduces nurses’ work performance and productivity and prevents effective teamwork and communication [ 17 ]. This inevitably creates a negative and hostile work environment, leading to organizational consequences, such as reduced job satisfaction, increased intention to quit, and staff turnover/attrition rate, which inevitably leads to higher organizational costs due to recruitment and retention difficulties [ 14 , 23 ].

4.4. Strengths and Limitations of This Umbrella Review

This is the first summary review to synthesize an extensive body of systematic reviews about workplace bullying to the best of our knowledge. We conducted a comprehensive search strategy and critical appraisal of the published reviews under the Cochrane Overview of Reviews method. Ultimately, we generated a conceptual framework to help clinicians and researchers understand the extent of research underlying this topic ( Figure 2 ). However, this review is not without its limitations. First, we excluded several reviews that did not focus primarily on nurses, were published outside the last ten years, did not specify any systematic review methodology, or were published in non-English language [ 1 , 35 , 36 , 37 ]. We acknowledge that this could potentially result in the omission of several systematic reviews and their findings. Second, as we only included peer-reviewed journal publications, there is a possibility of publication bias, with studies reporting only positive results more likely to be published. These positive effects may be compounded in our included reviews [ 12 ]. Finally, we did not conduct a re-analysis of possible meta-analysis within the included reviews due to heterogeneity in measurement outcomes and study designs. This aspect may have limited the extent to which we could draw convincing conclusions about the review findings and any associations of variables within the conceptual framework.

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is ijerph-19-08256-g002.jpg

Conceptual Framework for Workplace Bullying among Nurses.

4.5. Implications for Further Research

Bullying is a social phenomenon that has been extensively studied within nursing and non-nursing literature. This review found that current studies over-utilized cross-sectional survey designs and generated varied and conflicting results in the literature, making it difficult to determine whether the key correlates of bullying are predictors, consequences, or both. For example, there were times when the occurrence of bullying caused a poor work environment or times when it became vice versa [ 4 , 16 ]. Based on the review, the associations between bullying and correlates are likely characterized by reciprocal relationships. This finding aligns with bullying as a dynamic social phenomenon [ 2 ]. Therefore, there is a need for more advanced study designs where one can also identify and determine directionality between variables based on individual contexts.

Next, there is a need to design robust and effective interventions to address workplace bullying. Although this summary review did not extract systematic reviews focusing on workplace bullying interventions, we observed only a few reviews that addressed this issue. Additionally, these reviews only retrieved a few studies that reported bullying intervention’s effectiveness, highlighting a lack of studies in this area [ 38 , 39 ]. To achieve this, clinicians could consider using advanced and sound methodological designs and a well-developed theoretical framework [ 2 ]. Experimental research designs or survey studies following the same individuals over several time points (e.g., diary studies or longitudinal studies with multiple measurement points) are also needed to provide better indications of causality and intervention effectiveness [ 38 , 39 ].

5. Conclusions

This summary review evaluated the prevalence, antecedents, and consequences of workplace bullying among nurses based on an extensive body of systematic reviews published between 2013 and 2021. Workplace bullying was reported to affect at least one-quarter of the nursing population, higher than in other professions. The huge variation in prevalence rates from 1 to 90% reported across different reviews could be attributed to socio-cultural differences, workplace differences, heterogeneity in study designs, and operationalization of terms and measurement tools. The review findings on the antecedents and consequences demonstrated the complex and overlapping dynamics in the relationships among different variables for workplace bullying. We synthesized the findings from the included reviews and proposed an integrative model to explain this phenomenon and serve as the basis for future research.

Funding Statement

This research received no external funding.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization: H.S.G. and S.H.; methodology: H.Z.; formal analysis: H.S.G. and H.Z.; writing—original draft preparation: S.H.; writing—review and editing: H.S.G. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Conflicts of interest.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


  1. Argumentative Essay On Bullying

    case study essay about bullying

  2. Effects Of Bullying In School

    case study essay about bullying

  3. 📚 Essay Sample on Bullying and Pro-Social Behavior

    case study essay about bullying

  4. essay on bullying

    case study essay about bullying

  5. Bullying Essay

    case study essay about bullying

  6. (PDF) Campus Bullying in the Senior High School: A Qualitative Case Study

    case study essay about bullying


  1. How to Write an Argumentative Essay


  1. Bullying in schools: the state of knowledge and effective interventions

    There is a wide variation in prevalence rates of bullying across studies, partially due to differences in measurement and/or operationalisation of the bullying construct. ... (GSHS and TIMSS), and (2) papers reported by research scholars. They came to the conclusion that there are important cultural and linguistic differences between eastern ...

  2. A Case Study with an Identified Bully: Policy and Practice Implications

    INTRODUCTION. Bullying is one of the most significant school problems experienced by children and adolescents and affects approximately 30% of students in U.S. public schools. 1 This included 13% as bullies, 10.6% as victims and 6.3% as bully-victims. 2 Bullying has been defined as repeated exposure to negative events within the context of an ...

  3. 154 Bullying Topics & Bullying Essay Examples

    Table of Contents. Examples of bullying can be found everywhere: in schools, workplaces, and even on the Internet (in the form of cyberbullying). In this article, we've collected top bullying research paper topics and questions, as well as bullying essay samples and writing tips. Get inspired with us!

  4. Campus Bullying in the Senior High School: A Qualitative Case Study

    The purpose of this qualitative case study was to describe the campus bullying experiences of senior high school students in a certain secondary school of Davao City, Philippines. Three senior ...

  5. Bullying at school and mental health problems among adolescents: a

    To examine recent trends in bullying and mental health problems among adolescents and the association between them. A questionnaire measuring mental health problems, bullying at school, socio-economic status, and the school environment was distributed to all secondary school students aged 15 (school-year 9) and 18 (school-year 11) in Stockholm during 2014, 2018, and 2020 (n = 32,722).

  6. Bullying in children: impact on child health

    Bullying in childhood is a global public health problem that impacts on child, adolescent and adult health. Bullying exists in its traditional, sexual and cyber forms, all of which impact on the physical, mental and social health of victims, bullies and bully-victims. Children perceived as 'different' in any way are at greater risk of ...

  7. Full article: Understanding bullying from young people's perspectives

    Introduction. With its negative consequences for wellbeing, bullying is a major public health concern affecting the lives of many children and adolescents (Holt et al. 2014; Liu et al. 2014 ). Bullying can take many different forms and include aggressive behaviours that are physical, verbal or psychological in nature (Wang, Iannotti, and Nansel ...

  8. Snezana's story: From being bullied to ending conflicts at school

    The peer mediators are student volunteers who are trained to resolve conflict at school - often cases of bullying and psychological abuse. Peer mediator Snezana, 16 years old, speaks to a representative of the UNICEF supported Domovik NGO, in a park in Mitrovica North, Kosovo (SCR 1244). When Snezana was younger she experienced bullying.

  9. Tackling Bullying from the Inside Out: Shifting Paradigms in Bullying

    Defining and Contextualising Bullying. While certain individuals are more likely to bully (psychological dimension), the structures in which they exist (sociological dimension) can also contribute towards an environment (educational dimension) where bullying is more acceptable.Furthermore, social media and other online spaces (technological dimension) are now extending the nature and scope of ...

  10. Bullying: issues and challenges in prevention and intervention

    Bullying is a public health issue that persists and occurs across several contexts. In this narrative review, we highlight issues and challenges in addressing bullying prevention. Specifically, we discuss issues related to defining, measuring, and screening for bullying. These include discrepancies in the interpretation and measurement of power imbalance, repetition of behavior, and ...

  11. Managing bullying in South African secondary schools: a case study

    The purpose of this paper is to report on part of the investigation done for a doctoral thesis (Singh, 2016), which looked at the factors contributing to bullying perpetration in secondary schools and on the basis of the findings, recommend a model that may be used to curb bullying in secondary schools. A qualitative research design was used to ...

  12. Case Study of a Troubled Adolescent due to Bullying

    The model is illustrated in the diagram below. Figure 1: The Social-Ecological Model. This term paper, "Troubled Adolescent due to Bullying" is published exclusively on IvyPanda's free essay examples database. You can use it for research and reference purposes to write your own paper.

  13. Bullying in higher education: an endemic problem?

    Methodologically, the article makes use of the techniques of systematic review (Jesson et al., 2011; Tight, 2021; Torgerson, 2003), an approach that seeks to identify, analyse and synthesize all of the research that has been published on a particular topic - in this case, bullying in higher education.In practice, of course, some limits have to be set on the scope of a systematic review, most ...

  14. Cyber Bullying: Case Study: [Essay Example], 533 words

    Case Study: The Smith Family. The Smith family consists of two parents, John and Sarah, and their 15-year-old daughter, Emily. Emily had been a victim of cyber bullying for several months, with the bullies using social media platforms to spread rumors, make derogatory comments, and even create fake profiles in her name.

  15. Workplace bullying as an organizational problem: Spotlight on people

    Though workplace bullying is conceptualized as an organizational problem, there remains a gap in understanding the contexts in which bullying manifests—knowledge vital for addressing bullying in practice. In three studies, we leverage the rich content contained within workplace bullying complaint records to explore this issue then, based on our discoveries, investigate people management ...

  16. Bullying: What We Know Based On 40 Years of Research

    WASHINGTON — A special issue of American Psychologist® provides a comprehensive review of over 40 years of research on bullying among school age youth, documenting the current understanding of the complexity of the issue and suggesting directions for future research. "The lore of bullies has long permeated literature and popular culture.

  17. Bullying Case Study Examples That Really Inspire

    Bullying Case Studies Samples For Students. 495 samples of this type. WowEssays.com paper writer service proudly presents to you a free catalog of Bullying Case Studies intended to help struggling students tackle their writing challenges. In a practical sense, each Bullying Case Study sample presented here may be a pilot that walks you through ...

  18. Indian government initiatives on cyberbullying: A case study on

    Higher hours spent on social networking sites also lead to cyberbullying victimization. This case study found that Parental awareness and discussing online issues with youngsters have played a vital role in preventing them from being bullied, which resembles the conclusion of a study conducted in Vietnam by Ho et al. (Ho et al., 2020). The ...

  19. A Multilevel Analysis of Factors Influencing School Bullying in 15-Year

    In this study, using HLM software, we combined school-level variables and student-level variables to explore the influencing factors that affected school bullying and attempted to reveal the specific causes behind this phenomenon. A structure diagram of this study is shown in Figure 1. Figure 1.

  20. Bullying Essay for Students and Children

    500+ Words Essay on Bullying. Bullying refers to aggressive behavior so as to dominate the other person. It refers to the coercion of power over others so that one individual can dominate others. It is an act that is not one time, instead, it keeps on repeating over frequent intervals. The person (s) who bullies others can be termed as bullies ...

  21. What Students Are Saying About Bullying Today

    Bullying today is a lot more secretive with social media. In school I have never actually witnessed bullying other than talking secretly about a person behind their back, nothing major. But while ...

  22. Analytical Essay: The Reasons for Bullying

    Bullies usually do this for popularity, even though people usually fear them rather than actually like them, by making themselves look 'good' in front of friends and potential friends. We Will Write a Custom Case Study Specifically. For You For Only $13.90/page! order now. Differently, but also for popularity, other people also bully others ...

  23. Essays On Cyber Bullying

    Cyber Bullying Essay. Bullying has increased over the past few years. Every bully has their own motive and reason behind their actions. Bullying could either be a short term or long term event. There are different ways a person can be bullied. Through social media, texting/phone, in person, blackmail, in and out of the classroom.

  24. Prevalence, Antecedents, and Consequences of Workplace Bullying among

    Rutherford et al. attributed this observation to the inclusion criteria of mostly English-language papers by most reviews and that most journals and databases use English for communication ... these reviews only retrieved a few studies that reported bullying intervention's effectiveness, highlighting a lack of studies in this area [38,39].

  25. Grisly teen murder case shocks China and shines a light on 'left behind

    The alleged murder of a 13-year-old boy by his classmates in rural northern China has shocked the nation, igniting heated debates about school bullying, juvenile crime and the plight of tens of ...