High School Bullying: Psychological Aspects

Topic Discussion

Numerous adverse effects and reasons are ascribed to bullying in high school. According to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA), it may affect the bystanders, the actors, and the victims of bullying. It has been argued that a stereotypical image of an aggressive kid from a neglectful family no longer represents the complete picture – instead, it is driven by a different power dynamic (Oakes). Moreover, cyberbullying introduced a new element of interaction, such as virtual space (Salmon et al. 29). Overall, high school bullies may now be motivated by new rationales and use new techniques for harassing their victims.

Focus Indication

The proposed research will focus on why and how bullying may be present in students’ lives during and after high school. The study will discuss the psychology behind bullying, the effects of bullying on all the involved parties, and emergent patterns. The following research questions will be asked:

  • (RQ1) What modern social, psycho-emotional, and other factors push high school students to become bullies?
  • (RQ2) What are the adverse effects of bullying? Are they more pertinent to specific groups?

Timelessly, bullying inflicts considerable damage on all parties involved and can emerge for diverse reasons, which change with the onset of new technology and different societal structures.

Reason for Interest

I became interested in this topic after reading several news articles that pondered the connection between bullying in schools and shootings. I wondered what drives the behavior of both sides, the bullies and the victims. I was thus interested in establishing a psychological and social foundation for this question in the digital and globalized world context.


Bullying is ubiquitous, yet, some places enjoy a relatively low prevalence of such behaviors. Inaccurate assessments of bullying may lead to flawed and unsuccessful interventions (Lekunze and Strom 147). Further, bullying is highly impactful on teenagers’ mental and physical health in short- and long-term. Some commonly described concerns are substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, and reduced academic performance and attendance (ASPA). Educators, parents, and students strive to find working solutions and reduce the chances of adverse consequences. Hopefully, the learning outcomes will point toward formative factors that contribute to being a bully or a victim, which, in turn, may help prevent and respond to harassment. This research will add a unique perspective to considering bullying as universally harmful and re-evaluate the formation of roles that high school bullies play in modern schools.

Research Plan

The proposed research will rely mainly on scholarly literature databases, such as EBSCO Host, Springer, and Science Direct accessed through the college library and Google Scholar. In addition, reliable online sources will be used – for instance, those that end with.gov or.edu or published by a reputable agency such as New York Times or BBC. The resources will be searched by keywords according to RQ1 and RQ2 and then briefly assessed for suitability based on the abstracts. Once a sufficient list of literature has been established, the review will be organized by topics and completed.

Works Cited

Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA). “Effects of Bullying.” StopBullying.Gov, 2019.

Lekunze, Lucy M. George, and B. Ivan Strom. “Bullying and Victimisation Dynamics in High School: An Exploratory Case Study.” Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, vol. 19, no. 1, 2017, pp. 147–163. ERIC.

Oakes, Kelly. “Why Children Become Bullies at School.” BBC, 2019.

Salmon, Samantha, et al. “Bullying Victimization Experiences among Middle and High School Adolescents: Traditional Bullying, Discriminatory Harassment, and Cybervictimization.” Journal of Adolescence, vol. 63, 2018, pp. 29–40. ScienceDirect.