Thursday, May 9, 2013


Article by Guest Blogger, Kimberly Burkhart, Ph.D.

Bullying is a relationship-based form of aggressive behavior, which involves the use of repeated intentional acts to humiliate, dominate, and oppress others.  There are four types of bullying that are most common among children and adolescents:  Verbal, physical, relational/social, and electronic.  

The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated that 20% of students had experienced some form of bullying in the previous 12 months.  Moreover, research suggests that 10-40% of youth reported being victims of some form of electronic bullying.  Bullying is associated with increases in suicide risk, depression, irritability, anxiety, sleeping difficulties, somatic problems, violent behaviors, and higher rates of school absenteeism among victims.  

Children who have special healthcare needs, specific language impairment, learning disabilities, pervasive developmental disorders, co-morbid psychiatric problems (internalizing and externalizing disorders), and those who have identified or who are perceived as being part of the LGBTQ community are more likely to be the victim of bullying.  

Some signs that a child may be bullied include unexplainable injuries, destroyed property, changes in eating habits, decline in academic performance, decreased self-esteem, avoidance of social situations, and engaging in self-destructive behavior.  

Some signs that a child may be bullying others include getting into physical or verbal fights, acquiring new belongings that are unexplainable, increasing aggressiveness and competitiveness, and blaming others for his/her mistakes.  

For more information on how to prevent or respond to bullying, please consult

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Kimberly Burkhart, Ph.D. is a Clinical Child Psychology Fellow at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  She is the Chair of the Ohio Psychological Association’s Bullying Prevention Task Force.    

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