How Bullying Affects Adolescents

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho-based education administrator Nichole Thiel has served in high-level school leadership positions at the university, high school, and middle school levels. Nichole Thiel has previously taught family and consumer science courses at the University of Idaho and is trained in the Wessler anti-bullying approach.

Bullying can take many forms, including physical violence, cruel rumors, and insults. Severe bullying not only affects the target but can also have a negative impact on witnesses and the classroom environment.

Teenagers are particularly sensitive to the opinions of their peers, and bullying can have a profound effect on a teen’s self-esteem and self-worth. Adolescents who become outcast at school can experience stress, anxiety, depression, and even develop suicidal thoughts.

At schools with severe bullying problems, students often underperform academically. This may be due to teachers spending much of the class time managing behavioral issues rather than teaching. Additionally, teens may be too preoccupied with bullying to put forth their best effort or may miss days of school to avoid confrontations.