Featured Topic: Bullying Research
Youth Bullying: What Does the Research Say?
Bullying is one type of youth violence that threatens young people's well-being. Bullying can result in physical injuries, social and emotional difficulties, and academic problems. The harmful effects of bullying are frequently felt by others, including friends and families, and can hurt the overall health and safety of schools, neighborhoods, and society.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines bullying as any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm.1 A young person can be a perpetrator, a victim, or both (also known as "bully/victim").
Bullying can occur in-person and through technology. Electronic aggression or cyber-bullying is bullying that happens through email, chat rooms, instant message, a website, text message, or social media.2
The CDC works to understand and prevent bullying before it starts. Research is still developing and helps us to better understand and prevent bullying. School-based bullying prevention programs are widely implemented but not always evaluated. However, research suggests promising program elements include:3
- Improving supervision of students
- Using school rules and behavior management techniques in the classroom and throughout the school to detect and address bullying by providing consequences for bullying
- Having a whole school anti-bullying policy, and enforcing that policy consistently
- Promoting cooperation among different professionals and between school staff and parents
The following resources provide additional information on bullying, electronic aggression, youth violence prevention, and safe schools.
CDC Bullying Research and Resources
- Bullying Surveillance Among Youths: Uniform Definitions for Public Health and Recommended Data Elements, Version 1.0 [PDF 8.7MB]
- Bullying Compendium: Assessment Tools for Measuring Bullying
- Understanding Bullying - Fact Sheet [PDF 360KB] Spanish version, Comprensión del acoso escolar [PDF 252KB]
- Bullying and Suicide: A Public Health Approach
- The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What We Know and What it Means for Schools [PDF 5MB]
- Electronic Aggression
- The Bully – Sexual Violence Pathway in Early Adolescence [PDF 491KB]
CDC Youth Violence Prevention Resources
- Division of Violence Prevention, Youth Violence Prevention
- Academic Centers for Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention
- The Community Guide – School-Based Violence Prevention Programs
- Division of Adolescent and School Health
- Safe Youth. Safe Schools.
Additional Federal or Partner Resources
- Find Youth Info
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
- SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP)
- Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide
- Gladden RM, Vivolo-Kantor AM, Hamburger ME, Lumpkin CD. Bullying Surveillance Among Youths: Uniform Definitions for Public Health and Recommended Data Elements, Version 1.0. Atlanta, GA; National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Education; 2013.
- David-Ferdon C, Hertz MF. Electronic media and youth violence: A CDC issue brief for researchers. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2009. Available from www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/Electronic_Aggression_Researcher_Brief-a.pdf
- Farrington DP, Ttofi MM. School-based programs to reduce bullying and victimization. Systematic review for The Campbell Collaboration Crime and Justice Group; 2010. Available from www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/229377.pdf