Bullying and Health


Target Bullying Prevention & InterventionAn Examination of Health Correlates


Because bullying is a complex phenomenon rooted in many intertwined factors, much of the research literature on the topic has examined it from an ecological standpoint. This research has generally reached the consensus that students who become targets of bullying are perceived as different from their peers in some way, raising the question of whether those with medical diagnoses or health concerns such as obesity are at higher risk for bullying involvement than physically healthy children. 

This study looks to improve our limited understanding of the link between health issues and bullying by specifically focusing on such issues as body size, body image, and medical and physical conditions. In doing so, it also aims to gain perspectives on bullying from both students and their adult caregivers. 

In contrast to the self-reports and school nursing records used in much of the research literature, this study is collecting data from physicians' medical records – data that should offer more accurate information on height, weight and medical conditions. In turn, the precision of this data should help yield more reliable insights into any links between bullying / victimization and health concerns. 

Principal Investigators: Dr. Susan Swearer (professor, school psychology); Sara Gonzalez (doctoral student, school psychology)