College Students Still Vulnerable to Bullying

Harassment, especially cyberbullying, can continue beyond high school

THURSDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Bullying and cyberbullying don't end when students go from high school to college, a new study finds.

"We got into looking at college students because there are studies on elementary, junior high, high school and the workplace," Christine MacDonald, a professor of educational and school psychology at Indiana State University, said in a university news release. "There's nothing on colleges. It doesn't just stop when they turn 18."

She and her colleagues found that 15 percent of college students in their study reported being bullied and nearly 22 percent reported being cyberbullied.

In addition, 38 percent of students knew someone who had been cyberbullied and almost 9 percent said they had cyberbullied someone else.

Of those who said they'd been cyberbullied, 25 percent said it was through a social networking site, 21 percent through text message, 16 percent through email and 13 percent through instant messages.

The study also found that 42 percent of students said they had seen someone being bullied by another student, 8 percent reported bullying another student, nearly 15 percent had seen a professor bully a student and 4 percent said they had been bullied by a professor.

"Students who are different in some way seem to be singled out. If it's by ethnicity or sexual orientation, we don't know. We don't have enough data, MacDonald said.

The researchers said universities and colleges must provide safe environments for students.

"We really believe there's a whole dimension to bullying from minor rude behavior like not saying hello to assault at the other end," MacDonald said. "By intervening at minor behaviors, we can stop more severe negative behaviors."

More information

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration has more about bullying.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Indiana State University, news release, Oct. 20, 2011

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