Bullying is not a new topic, but psychologists are working to identify new ways to prevent it. Research has shown that school bullying is a frequent and serious public health problem. Recent cases of school violence, like those we saw with the Columbine and other school shootings, highlight the often-deadly consequences of bullying behavior. In response, educators and politicians are turning to psychologists more and more to help schools establish effective bullying prevention and intervention programs. In fact, psychologists’ research is also being used as part of a bullying prevention campaign launched in 2004 by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, “Take A Stand, Lend A Hand: Stop Bullying Now!“
However, psychologists’ work in bullying prevention is not done. Bullying experts say that while it’s important to understand the connections between school bullying and physical violence, even more studies are needed on a wide range of all bullying behaviors, such as relational aggression like we saw in the movie Mean Girls, cyber bullying, and bullying in the workplace. Bullying research is still a developing field for psychologists, but the work they are doing to determine what constitutes bullying and what conditions allow bullying to flourish are key steps towards prevention.