Bullies and Victims in Higher Education

Journal of Bullying and Social Aggression

Volume 1, Number 1, 2015

Bullies and Victims in Higher Education: A Mixed-Methods Approach

Amelia D. Perry & Sarai Blincoe

Longwood University



Corresponding Author: Amelia D. Perry






            A majority of research on bullying focuses on primary and secondary education or the workplace, and fails to address bullying at the higher education level.  This mixed-methods study explored bullying at one university through an investigation of prevalence rates, characteristics of bullies and victims, motivations, and awareness of and attitudes towards bullying policy. After completing a questionnaire, participants described their experiences with bullying through a written narrative. Of the students surveyed, 63.35% witnessed bullying in some capacity since coming to college, and 27.15% reported being victims of bullying; verbal bullying was the most common subtype observed and experienced. The results were generally consistent across the two methodologies used, but the qualitative narratives revealed novel reasons for the occurrence of bullying. With further evidence revealing bullying among students within higher education, these findings can aid colleges and universities in developing and improving policies, preventative programming, and assistance for victims of bullying.

Keywords:  bullying, higher education, motives, policy, narratives, victimization

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Permanent link to this article: http://sites.tamuc.edu/bullyingjournal/bullies-and-victims-in-higher-education/

Social Aggression

Social Aggression is a range of behaviors that is related to bullying but which are different in type and cause.  Like bullying, socially aggressive behavior contributes to physical or emotional harm to targets.  Individuals who are social aggressive may be irritable, impulsive, angry and even violent.

Like bullying, aggressive behavior is intentional  and done to inflict harm or pain, violates the norms of society, and contributes to the breakdown in an interpersonal  relationship or a group.  Social aggression need not occur persistently over time like bullying does and may not be directed at a single individual.  Occasional aggressive outbursts of anger are not uncommon.  What differentiates socially aggressive behavior is the frequency, intensity, duration and pattern of anger, aggression or violence.  Socially aggressive individuals may be unable to engage in self-control, lack understanding of how their behaviors affect others, or not realize that their behaviors are breaking social norms.

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Permanent link to this article: http://sites.tamuc.edu/bullyingjournal/social-aggression/

Types of Bullying

There are many types of bullying; just as many forms of bullying as there are situations and relationships in which bullies want to exert their power.  It is impossible to identify all the forms of bullying given that bullying is constantly evolving but it is possible to identify many types of bullying.  Naming and identifying forms of bullying is important since bullying can take on many forms and it is important to recognize this behavior as bullying whenever it is observed.  Forms of bullying also can happen in many different locations including schools, universities, work places, homes, playing fields, and even in nursing homes.  Anyone can be bullied at any age by anyone and so bullying is a life-long phenomenon, not just behavior that happens to school-age children and adolescents.  Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: http://sites.tamuc.edu/bullyingjournal/types-of-bullying/


Bullying is a continuous aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. This type of behavior generally happens among school-age children. However, in just recent years, bullying has raised great concern among people of all ages. Bullying is happening in classrooms, locker rooms, board rooms, and on the internet.

No matter what the age, bullying can cause serious lasting psychological and sociological problems. Victims of bullying often suffer from depression, fear, and anxiety. Other symptoms may include changes in sleep habits, eating patterns, as well as loss of interest in activities they enjoy doing.

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Permanent link to this article: http://sites.tamuc.edu/bullyingjournal/bullying/

What To Do When You Are Being Bullied

Trying to change a bully single handedly might be a hard task to uptake, but with some help the bully might lower his shield and be more understanding towards someone (National Youth). By taking some of these tips, according to National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, helping someone with overcoming the bully in their life might prove more successful.

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Permanent link to this article: http://sites.tamuc.edu/bullyingjournal/are-you-a-bully/