Episode 2

In this episode, APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, PhD, discusses research on bullying and how bullying can lead to lasting psychological problems.



Norman Anderson: Hello, and welcome to "This Is Psychology."

I'm Dr. Norman Anderson, CEO of the American Psychological Association.

The problem of bullying has received a great deal of media attention recently, and for good reason. Bullying can lead to lasting psychological problems, including lowered self-esteem, depression, anxiety and even thoughts of suicide.

So how do we define bullying? Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions, such as cyberbullying — or using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital technologies to harass.

Someone who is bullied typically has trouble defending him- or herself and does nothing to "cause" the bullying. Bullying is not a phase children have to go through. It is not "just messing around." And it is not something to grow out of. Bullying can cause serious and lasting harm.

Recently, I participated in The White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. That event — led by President and Mrs. Obama — brought together approximately 150 students, parents, teachers, nonprofit leaders, experts, advocates, and policymakers to discuss how we can work together to make our schools and communities safe for all students. It was a great opportunity to brainstorm and share resources and solutions.

APA and psychologists have worked on the problem of bullying for many years. Psychologists have conducted cutting-edge research into the causes of bullying, as well as the most effective strategies to prevent it in the first place. Thanks to this research, we know that there is no single cause of bullying. Rather, individual, family, peer, school and community factors can influence the occurrence of bullying behavior. Knowing these characteristics is important to developing prevention strategies. Research in psychology and other fields has shown that effective bullying prevention programs involve long-lasting school-wide programs that incorporate firm, positive discipline practices and provide intensive training for parents, teachers and children.

APA and our members have developed a wealth of materials and information for parents, teachers, psychologists and even kids who are being bullied. These include books, articles and guides for parents and teachers. Many of these resources are on our website at apa.org. There is also a website developed by the federal government at stopbullying.gov. So if you or someone you know needs help or wants to join in the effort to end bullying, please visit these informative websites.

Thanks for watching "This is Psychology."