Both school bullies and victims of bullying are more preoccupied with their looks and with losing weight than their peers. They are thus more likely to develop eating disorders and other psychological problems.
Bullying is a problem in schools all over the world. It has a lot of forms as well. Maybe there's a physically imposing student at a school who uses physical intimidation to get his way. Maybe there's a girl who's mean to others and uses her social standing to put others down. Students can spread false rumors about their victims or post deeply embarrassing videos of the victims on the Internet. Others may also try to deliberately exclude victims from the school's social life.
One issue that can arise due to bullying is an obsession with weight and looks. Now, you might say that all adolescents are preoccupied with their looks in one way or another. While that's true, school bullies and bullying victims seem to be far more fixated on their looks than their peers who are uninvolved in bullying.
Researchers gathered about 800 adolescents who had been party to bullying in some way. The participants gave information on their thoughts and behaviors about eating and exercise. They answered questions on their self-esteem, body image, and emotional health as well.
According to the study, bullies obsess over their weight because they need to be the strongest, fittest, and best-looking. After all, if you're the hottest in the bunch, no one can touch you.
Bullying victims, meanwhile, suffer reduced psychological functioning as a result of bullying. Bullying drives victims to obsess over weight and severely lowers their self-esteem. They may treat trying to look better as a coping mechanism. This can lead to the development of eating disorders.
Those who have been both a bully and a bullying victim may be be more preoccupied with weight loss than the two previous groups. They suffer the negative effects of both roles, and they carry the double burden of being a bully and a victim. As a bully, they feel the need to be strong, attractive, and popular. However, they also suffer from the psychological impact of being a victim.
There's a lot of reasons why school bullies behave the way they do. It may be because they simply don't like someone because of race or sexual orientation. Bullies also tend to come from a dysfunctional family or a bad home life that they feel they have no control over. Bullies may also have psychopathic or antisocial personality traits, or have what they perceive as a higher social status over their peers.
In any case, schools need to step up efforts in reducing bullying in the student population. Reducing incidences of bullying can help both bullies and victims improve their body image, health, and self-esteem.
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