• What causes bullied teenagers?

  • Bullied teenagers are faced with many emotional difficulties in the present and long-term. Teenagers are bullied for different reasons and researchers set out to find out what those reasons are. They looked at whether certain characteristics such as attractiveness, wealth, academic, and athletic ability had any correlation to peer rejection and victimization. The 549 students that participated in the study were students in grades 6-10. To assess for victimization, rejection, socio-economic status, the students were asked to list an unlimited number of their same-sex and opposite sex peers who best fit each description and based on those scores, students were put into categories of social status: popular, rejected, neglected, controversial, and average. The students were also asked questions like “who do people make fun of?” and”who is good looking?” to help identify students at the school.

    bullied teenager
    Physical Attractiveness

    Those teenagers who were considered less attractive by their peers were identified as being victimized  significantly more than those were seen as attractive.


    Teenagers viewed as wealthy were less likely to be victims of bullying.

    Athletic competence

    Being viewed by one’s peers as doing well in sports meant that they were less likely to be victimized and those who were viewed as not athletic were more likely to be victimized.

    Academic Ability

    teenagers who were viewed as having lower academic ability received more nominations for being bullied than those were viewed as good students.

    These results show that there is a relationship between how peers view attractiveness, wealth, athletic ability, and academic ability with bullying/victimization. Bullied teenagers are most likely bullied by others based on physical and behavioral observations. It is important to remember that teachers, parents and others working with teens can help change the attitudes to view others in a more favorable light. It also tells us that peer rejection does not mean peer victimization. If the teenagers were viewed to have the identified desirable traits, it made them less likely to be bullied. The social environment that the teenagers are involved with plays a large factor in bullying.

    If your teen is being bullied at school, it can help to take them to see a therapist. Although a therapist can’t help stop the bullies, the therapist can give support to the teen and help them cope with the situation. Being bullied can lead to low self-esteem and depression so having a therapist to help teens work through with issues like these can be helpful.



    Source: Knack, J. M, Hymel, S. Vasilinka, T., Vaillancourt, T. & McDougall, P.  (2012). What projects rejected adolescents from also being bullied by their peers? The moderating role of peer-valued characteristics. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 22(3), 467-479.