Clinical Trials on the Effects of Bullying

What is Bullying?

Bullying is aggressive behavior that most commonly takes place between school-aged children. It may be physical or psychological, but all bullying is unwanted. It always includes perceived power imbalances: Students bullied are often made to feel unpopular or “outcast.”

Bullying can persist into adulthood, especially in the workplace. It is most prevalent in environments with strict hierarchy of authority.

Clinical Trials on the Effects of Bullying

Contributions and viewpoints of the victims are minimized to exercise control over them.

Adult bullying can contribute to a toxic work environment and may feed into criminal behaviors like assault. Becoming the victim of a bully can damage a person’s career, especially if the bully is a supervisor.

“Cyberbullying” refers to a similar pattern of intimidating behavior brought online. It happens most frequently among young people on social media platforms and mobile apps. However, organized online harassment and “trolling” can be considered forms of bullying.

What Conditions is Bullying Associated With?

Bullying can have serious psychological consequences. This is true whether or not individual episodes are intense or violent. It can also affect any person. Some groups, like LGBT and racial minorities, are more frequently targeted at any age.

Bullied children are more likely to suffer chronic mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Severe bullying can result in conditions including PTSD or development of fears and phobias, like social anxiety or agoraphobia.

Stress, loss of confidence, and sleep disturbances are common results for bullied adults. Since cyberbullying can leave a person of any age afraid of its future consequences, it also has a major negative effect on quality of life.

What Research Currently Exists Around Bullying?

Clinical research on bullying focuses on reducing its impact. Bullying research can be thought of as part of research on trauma. For example, prolonged trauma can result in brain changes that make it harder to regulate emotions or organize long-term effort.

Therapies for bullying victims range from medications to counseling.

In clinical studies on bullying, new medications are being pioneered. These may help victims adapt to stressful situations and enhance the effect of counseling. Counseling is aimed at giving victims a greater sense of personal agency and emotional resilience.

In some cases, as when a workplace has been heavily compromised by bullying, it may be necessary for an adult victim to leave that environment as part of safeguarding mental health. Online habits can also be adjusted to improve well-being.

Why Are Further Bullying Clinical Trials Important?

As bullying has become more widespread, the idea it is a “normal part of childhood” is being challenged by medical research. Rather than telling victims they must ignore it or “toughen up,” it is crucial to manage the measurable health effects of bullying.

At the same time, clinical practitioners are recognizing the prevalence and seriousness of adult bullying. This is a relatively new research area with many questions to answer. New studies must be conducted that focus on the problems of adult bullying.

Current Bullying Clinical Trials

In a recent study, about 49% of students in grades 4-12 reported being bullied. Perhaps surprisingly, 31% of adults surveyed said they had been bullied. 43% said the behavior had become more accepted over the last year.

This has serious health implications. More clinical resources for bullying are essential to mental health as people of all ages face greater pressures and a digital environment that extends bullying into the home.


The majority of American adults experience sleep disturbances at some point in life. With that in mind, clinical trials on sleep truly affect everyone. Unfortunately, sleep disorders are under-diagnosed – and those who suffer often do not pursue treatment. Participating in clinical studies on sleep is one way to help ensure you, and others, will rest better.