Workplace bullying quiz

Facts About Bullying |

This section pulls together fundamental information about bullying, including:

  • Definition
  • Research on Bullying
  • Bullying Statistics
  • Bullying and Suicide
  • Anti-Bullying Laws

Definition of Bullying

In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Education released the first federal definition of bullying. The definition includes three core elements:

  • unwanted aggressive behavior
  • observed or perceived power imbalance
  • repetition or high likelihood of repetition of bullying behaviors

This definition helps determine whether an incident is bullying or another type of aggressive behavior or both.

Research on Bullying

Bullying prevention is a growing research field that investigates the complexities and consequences of bullying. Important areas for more research include:

  • Prevalence of bullying in schools
  • Prevalence of cyberbullying in online spaces
  • How bullying affects people
  • Risk factors for people who are bullied, people who bully others, or both
  • How to prevent bullying
  • How media and media coverage affects bullying

What We’ve Learned about Bullying

  • Bullying affects all youth, including those who are bullied, those who bully others, and those who witness bullying. The effects of bullying may continue into adulthood.
  • There is not a single profile of a young person involved in bullying. Youth who bully can be either well connected socially or marginalized, and may be bullied by others as well. Similarly, those who are bullied sometimes bully others.
  • Solutions to bullying are not simple. Bullying prevention approaches that show the most promise confront the problem from many angles. They involve the entire school community—students, families, administrators, teachers, and staff such as bus drivers, nurses, cafeteria and front office staff—in creating a culture of respect. Zero tolerance and expulsion are not effective approaches.
  • Bystanders, or those who see bullying, can make a huge difference when they intervene on behalf of someone being bullied.
  • Studies also have shown that adults can help prevent bullying by talking to children about bullying, encouraging them to do what they love, modeling kindness and respect, and seeking help.

Bullying Statistics

Here are federal statistics about bullying in the United States. Data sources include the Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2019 (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice) and the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

How Common Is Bullying

  • About 20% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying nationwide.
  • Students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied said they thought those who bullied them:
    • Had the ability to influence other students’ perception of them (56%).
    • Had more social influence (50%).
    • Were physically stronger or larger (40%).
    • Had more money (31%).

Bullying in Schools

  • Nationwide, 19% of students in grades 9–12 report being bullied on school property in the 12 months prior to the survey.
  • The following percentages of students ages 12-18 had experienced bullying in various places at school:
    • Hallway or stairwell (43. 4%)
    • Classroom (42.1%)
    • Cafeteria (26.8%)
    • Outside on school grounds (21.9%)
    • Online or text (15.3%)
    • Bathroom or locker room (12.1%)
    • Somewhere else in the school building (2.1%)
  • Approximately 46% of students ages 12-18 who were bullied during the school year notified an adult at school about the bullying.


  • Among students ages 12-18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, 15 % were bullied online or by text.
  • An estimated 14.9% of high school students were electronically bullied in the 12 months prior to the survey.

Types of Bullying

  • Students ages 12-18  experienced  various types of bullying, including:
    • Being the subject of rumors or lies (13. 4%)
    • Being made fun of, called names, or insulted (13.0%)
    • Pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on (5.3%)
    • Leaving out/exclusion (5.2%)
    • Threatened with harm (3.9%)
    • Others tried to make them do things they did not want to do (1.9%)
    • Property was destroyed on purpose (1.4%)

State and Local Statistics

Follow these links for state and local figures on the following topics:

  • Bullied on School Property, Grades 9-12
  • Cyberbullied, Grades 9-12

International Statistics

According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics:

  • One third of the globe’s youth is bullied; this ranges from as low as 7% in Tajikistan to 74% in Samoa.
  • Low socioeconomic status is a main factor in youth bullying within wealthy countries.
  • Immigrant-born youth in wealthy countries are more likely to be bullied than locally-born youth.

Bullying and Suicide

The relationship between bullying and suicide is complex. The media should avoid oversimplifying these issues and insinuating or directly stating that bullying can cause suicide. The facts tell a different story. It is not accurate and potentially dangerous to present bullying as the “cause” or “reason” for a suicide, or to suggest that suicide is a natural response to bullying.

  • Research indicates that persistent bullying can lead to or worsen feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair, as well as depression and anxiety, which can contribute to suicidal behavior.
  • The vast majority of young people who are bullied do not become suicidal.
  • Most young people who die by suicide have multiple risk factors.
  • For more information on the relationship between bullying and suicide, read “The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What We Know and What it Means for Schools” from the CDC.

Anti-Bullying Laws

All states have anti-bullying legislation. When bullying is also harassment and happens in the school context, schools have a legal obligation to respond to it according to federal laws.

What Is Bullying |

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

  • Types of Bullying
  • Where and When Bullying Happens
  • Frequency of Bullying

Types of Bullying

There are three types of bullying:

  • Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
    • Teasing
    • Name-calling
    • Inappropriate sexual comments
    • Taunting
    • Threatening to cause harm
  • Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
    • Leaving someone out on purpose
    • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
    • Spreading rumors about someone
    • Embarrassing someone in public
  • Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
    • Hitting/kicking/pinching
    • Spitting
    • Tripping/pushing
    • Taking or breaking someone’s things
    • Making mean or rude hand gestures

Where and When Bullying Happens

Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.

Frequency of Bullying

There are two sources of federally collected data on youth bullying:

  • The 2019 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice) indicates that, nationwide, about 22% of students ages 12–18 experienced bullying.
  • The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 19.5% of students in grades 9–12 report being bullied on school property in the 12 months preceding the survey.

See also "Frequency of Cyberbullying."

“Staplers fly in the office: how bullying in the workplace is dangerous for companies

A third of Russians have experienced bullying, and every second has become a victim of bullying not in childhood, but already in adulthood. Anastasia Lazibnaya, a social entrepreneur, founder of the Baba-Deda portal and the HR project Companies for All Ages, tells about the dangers of employee bullying in the workplace and why representatives of the older generation are often exposed to it.

Bullying, discrimination and stigmatization

Over the past 10 years, the Russian labor market has changed — and for the better. Employers began to understand that interviews should not ask unethical questions. Representatives of companies began to better understand the problems of applicants and at least no longer try to challenge the existence of discrimination based on the criteria of "otherness" (age, health status, gender, nationality, etc.). However, there remains a problem that many still prefer to hush up - bullying people in an adult environment.

Poda n VCIOM , 36% of Russians have experienced bullying as a victim, observer or aggressor. Most likely, this figure is underestimated. First, because the experience of bullying is traumatic, and this often prevents respondents from talking openly about it during telephone surveys (this is the method used by VTsIOM), in-depth interviews are required here. Secondly, it is often difficult for people to define bullying and abusive relationships, in addition, the level of acceptance of violence can vary in different environments.

Every second Russian who has experienced bullying experienced this experience as an adult. It is noteworthy that in recent years they have begun to talk actively about child bullying, but they still prefer to remain silent about adults, including in professional circles. Here is the difference between discrimination, which is often talked about, and stigmatization.

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According to HeadHunter data for 2020, 40% of employers did not hire people of “the wrong age” for them. This is discrimination. There are similar studies and surveys - this topic is now part of the public and HR agenda.

More than 60% of HR specialists surveyed by the Companies for All Ages project (the study is still ongoing) have experienced harassment of adults, employees, and “squeezing” them out of the work environment. This is bullying . The topic is not on the radar, it is not raised or discussed at professional events. Although the scale of the problem, according to preliminary estimates, seems to be quite significant. And this is a stigma.

Why adult bullying is stigmatized

Bullying is a sore subject for companies and employees alike. Bullying causes shame - both for the victims, who, being seemingly adults and experienced people, cannot resist it and feel powerless, and for the companies where it occurs.

In the case of companies, bullying reflects the psychoethical distortions that already exist in the corporate environment and communications. Admitting to the discriminatory attitudes prevailing in your office is difficult in itself, and talking openly about bullying is completely impossible. Who wants to talk about the fact that they have “staplers flying” in their office?

colleagues began to use her desk as a dumping ground — they piled clothes and bags on it

Bullying can take a variety of forms, in addition to purposeful violent actions. Sometimes a team is set against an employee. In one of the large firms, the head turned the team of the department against specialist N: colleagues began to use her desk as a dumping ground - they piled clothes and bags on it. The victim had to take it all apart every day, and when asked not to do so, the employees answered with smirks. It was as if they were saying to her: “Go away, you are not welcome here.”

Victims of bullying are often forced to endure inappropriate treatment for various reasons, including economic ones - unsecured mortgage, difficult family situation, etc.

Slightly less than 60% of victims of bullying do not contact direct management and HR companies . And in half of the known cases, management does not react at all. Lack of response is also an indicator of stigma and the reason why the topic is not raised in society and at industry events. As a result, 70% of companies that have experienced bullying do not take preventive measures to prevent the recurrence of bullying.

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The danger of bullying for hire

Bullying is an extreme manifestation of the policy of rejection and intolerance, anti-diversity & inclusion.

Let's consider how "adult" bullying occurs on the example of the attitude towards "age" employees. The danger in this case lies in the fact that, having taken on faith the arguments about the existence of a “demographic hole” and high competition for young personnel, the employer can remove discriminatory barriers to entry into the company, which, of course, is good. However, without preparing the environment for the arrival of “different” specialists, the likelihood of bullying remains quite high.

In 2015, Workfront and HarrisPoll conducted a survey of 617 employees, both Baby Boomers (born before 1963) and Millennials (born 1980-1995). All respondents worked in companies with more than 500 employees and actively communicated with colleagues during working hours.

54% of millennials cited their older colleagues as the main obstacle to effective workflow

The questions were about attitudes towards members of another generation. The answers showed that the conflict of generations exists at a deep level and concerns, among other things, ideas about each other. For example, 47% of millennials noted that “boomers” are not inclined to cooperate and work in a team. At the same time, 61% of "boomers" think the same, but relatively young professionals - in their understanding, they are the worst team players. In addition, 54% of millennials cited their older co-workers as the biggest barrier to an efficient workflow. Almost the same number of “age” employees (51%) believed that it was the youth that slowed down the work process.

Such an environment is, to put it mildly, not optimal for hiring people who are different - including in age - from most employees. If the topic of age causes fear and rejection among staff, then hired "senior" employees are likely to be rejected, and bullying in the team will affect performance.

There is an opinion that the representatives of the older generation are ready to do anything for the sake of work. But the values ​​of the generation play an important role here. Studies show that in their work, "age" specialists most of all value the level of remuneration and social package (63%), as well as a comfortable atmosphere in the team (47%). Such employees are usually not ready to put up with the bad attitude of colleagues and management.

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As a result, the campaign for hiring older employees in such a team does not show the best efficiency - the recruited staff flows back, time resources are wasted. And worst of all: such a failed campaign leaves its mark on the further attitude towards people who have only recently begun to be hired on an equal footing and without regard to age.

Who will help victims?

Interestingly, the presence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) units does not play a decisive role in solving the problem or resolving the conflict. About 37% of HRs say that having a CSR policy and a corporate code does not help to avoid bullying in the team, and 29% found it difficult to answer. And only 20% of HR specialists answered that CSR helps to solve the problem of bullying.

But the representatives of the HR service themselves can change a lot, in fact, by becoming the first instance in the route list of the victim of bullying - it is the HR department that the injured adult will go to in the first place. In large structures, HR can work in tandem with the compliance service; in medium and small businesses, it can cope on its own or with the involvement of specialized anti-bullying expertise.

The opinion of the author may not coincide with the point of view of the editors.

what to do if you are harassed at work / City news / Moscow website

Social sphere

Bullying is not only a problem for children. Adults also suffer. Most often, mobbing (this is what “adult” bullying is called) manifests itself in a work team. An employee can be bullied for a variety of reasons: for lack of will, ingratiating manners, and even for an extraordinary appearance. Let's figure out how mobbing manifests itself, can it be resisted or is it easier to find a new job?


“All groups, both children and adults, are subject to bullying. The concept of bullying is more often used when talking about school bullying. For "adult" bullying, the term "mobbing" is used. Variants of the manifestation of bullying at work are the spread of false rumors, constant criticism, withholding information, slander, social isolation, - says Natalia Shchankina , a psychologist at the Moscow Service for Psychological Assistance to the Population.

Under mobbing is understood collective psychological terror, harassment against any of the workers by his colleagues, subordinates or superiors. The purpose of such harassment is to force the employee to leave the place of work or weaken the degree of his social or professional influence in the team.

There are two main types of mobbing:

  • Vertical (bossing) - from superiors to an employee, or from colleagues to a new leader who is not accepted by the team.
  • Horizontal - from a group of colleagues to one employee.


No. 1. A period of tension or preconditioning.

There is a strong emotional tension in the team. It is associated with a previously unresolved or hidden conflict, or a general unfavorable psychological climate in the team.

No. 2. Search for a victim to relieve and relieve emotional stress.

A group of colleagues or a leader begin to show aggressive behavior towards their employee in the form of dissatisfaction, nitpicking, criticism and accusations.

No. 3. Phase of violence.

Aggressive attacks and ridicule become systematic and are tied to a specific employee. And they no longer depend on the actual actions and results of the activity of this specialist. The victim has a feeling of persecution and health deteriorates.

№ 4. Social isolation.

The victim is completely or partially isolated from work and corporate events, he is not invited to joint dinners and tea parties. The employee does not receive positive evaluations of his actions. He loses his bearings and becomes more and more helpless and insecure.

No. 5. Job loss.

Most often, a person who has been bullied for a long time quits and finds a new job. Or he is asked to write a statement of his own free will.


Mobbing is a group disease. Ideally, it should be dealt with systematically and at the level of managerial decisions. If this option is not suitable, then you can follow the universal rules.

First . Don't let yourself be humiliated, fight back. Be friendly, but at the same time do not curry favor with colleagues in order to please everyone. Be open, but do not immediately tell everyone about your personal problems. Perform your duties conscientiously and do not gossip about others.

Second. If you are still faced with bullying, the first thing to do is to assess your own strengths: do you have enough resources to resist aggression.

Third. Learn not to take bullying personally. Most likely, this is a "disease" of a particular team.

Fourth. With a biased attitude on the part of the boss, try to translate all tasks and claims against you into written form. This will make it harder for the offender to lead you into a dead end.

Fifth. Do not violate the boundaries of others and do not allow yours to be violated: from a banal address to "you" to raising your voice at you, or discussing your personal topics.

Sixth. When communicating with the manager, do not lose the thread of the conversation. Very often attacks occur without any relation to the case.

Seventh. If the above methods did not help, refer to the higher management. Don't be ashamed that you had to deal with bullying. Anyone can get into this situation. However, publicity often helps to resolve the situation.

Eighth. If the situation does not change, you should think about changing jobs. Bullying always causes severe damage to health.


These are people for whom control and manifestation of power is important. They do not know how to cope with their own aggression and are under constant internal stress. The only way for them to defuse is external aggression. This is their way of communication. Such people can be really very traumatized, sometime in childhood and often have all the signs of psychopathy.

In a work team, the aggressor's motives will be more important than his psychological characteristics. Not all aggressors poison people in the team. For this, there must be an enabling environment. Often the motive is the elimination of a competitor, the desire to make the victim weak and weak-willed, and force him to quit. It can also be banal envy, rivalry, competition, personal resentment or revenge, fear that someone will be better.


"White crow", "Not like everyone else" - often it is to such people that a wary attitude is manifested in the team. Mobbing practically does not occur in those groups where people work "from scratch", where the team is not divided into "us" and "them". But in the "psychological swamp", if a newcomer appears in it with extraordinary views, appearance, behavior, of a different nationality, the likelihood of bullying increases significantly.

“Internal tension in the collective cannot last long – discharge is required.

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