Home » News » Parenting » Teens Bullied In-Person and Online More Likely to Become Bullies
Teens Bullied In-Person and Online More Likely to Become Bullies

Teens Bullied In-Person and Online More Likely to Become Bullies

Adolescents who are bullied both in person and online are twice as likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors themselves, such as verbal hostility, physical fighting, and damaging property, than teens who experience only one form of bullying, according to a new study presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting in Baltimore.

Previous research has shown that victims of peer aggression are more likely to act out by becoming an aggressor themselves. In the new study, the researchers compared how likely a national sample of adolescents between ages 10 and 17 were to display hostile behaviors based on whether they themselves experienced face-to-face bullying, cyber-bullying, or both.

According to the findings, 43 percent of the teens in the study reported having been the victim of face-to-face bullying, while seven percent reported that they experienced some form of cyber-bullying. Those who had been bullied either in person or online were more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors such as physical fighting, damaging property, verbal hostility, and coercing peers.

Even more concerning, however, is that teens who were victims of both face-to-face and cyber-bullying — approximately three percent — are more than twice as likely as those experiencing just one form of bullying to engage in aggressive behaviors.

Of all the participants who suffered from both forms of bullying, 38 percent showed aggressive behavior toward others, compared with 15 percent of those who were cyber-bullied and four percent of those were victims of in-person bullying.

“Students who are victimized are more likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors towards others. This phenomenon may lead to a vicious cycle whereby bullies create bullies out of those they victimize,” said principal investigator Alexandra Hua.

She adds that with the growing use of cell phones and the Internet among young people, there should be a greater focus on cyber-bullying and these negative “downstream” effects, especially when combined with face-to-face bullying.

The researchers note that it is concerning, though not surprising, that young people who had been victimized by multiple forms of peer bullying were at increasingly higher risk of showing aggressive behaviors themselves.

“These behaviors may involve retaliatory measures against their aggressors, acting aggressive in order to fend off future bullying attempts, or worse, learning by example and engaging in bullying of previously uninvolved peers,” said senior investigator Andrew Adesman, M.D., FAAP, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics

Teenage bully photo by shutterstock.

Teens Bullied In-Person and Online More Likely to Become Bullies

Traci Pedersen

Traci Pedersen is a professional writer with over a decade of experience. Her work consists of writing for both print and online publishers in a variety of genres including science chapter books, college and career articles, and elementary school curriculum.

APA Reference
Pedersen, T. (2018). Teens Bullied In-Person and Online More Likely to Become Bullies. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 28, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 3 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.