J Korean Med Assoc.  2013 Jul;56(7):554-558. 10.5124/jkma.2013.56.7.554.

The role of physicians in preventing school bullying

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. mompeian@khu.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The number of reports of school bullying is not decreasing despite the efforts of various organizations. The effects of such phenomena are no longer limited to the victims and relevant schools, but should be considered to be a far-reaching social problem. In the past, the concept of school bullying was limited to physical threats and verbal abuse. Nowadays, school bullying is also understood to include social ostracism, sexual assault, and organized violence. Bullying involving cyberspace has been especially aggravated recently. In the event of school bullying, we must also consider bystanders as potential perpetrators and victims. There are three steps to managing school bullying: first, prevention; second, an appropriate response from the school and therapy in the event of bullying; third, minimizing the aftermath for the perpetrators and victims. Most victims complain of vague physical symptoms like headache, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Pediatricians involved in the primary treatment session should be especially alert for these early clues of victimization. Psychiatrists meet students who have already suffered from bullying. A victim often exhibits emotional and behavioral changes such as refusal to attend school, high anxiety and depression, low self-esteem, and greater potential toward self-mutilation or suicide. Long-term observational studies on not only the perpetrators and victims but also bystanders, who often comprise the majority of students, are necessary. Doctors should become more attentive to new developments in school bullying and engage themselves more with education on and prevention of school bullying.


Schools; Violence; Bullying; Physicians; Role; Suicide

MeSH Terms

Abdominal Pain
Crime Victims
Social Problems

Cited by  1 articles

A Systematic Review of School-bullying Interventions for Children and Adolescents in Korea
Ji-Hye Hwang, Yoonhee Seok, Hyo Gyeong Park, Ji Yeon Lee
Perspect Nurs Sci. 2020;17(1):12-27.    doi: 10.16952/pns.2020.17.1.12.


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