Healing from bullying in early adolescent boys: the positive impact of both forgiveness and revenge fantasies

Hayley Watson*, Natasha Todorov, Ronald M. Rapee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Bullying is a pervasive and debilitating issue for youth that can lead to substance abuse (Tharp-Taylor et al., 2009), worse outcomes at school (Miller et al., 2000), mental and physical health problems (Hawker & Boulton, 2000), and in some instances serious acts of school violence (Vossekuil et al., 2002). School bullying is often discriminatory in nature, and victims of bullying are often from vulnerable and marginalized populations (Elamé, 2013), making this a social issue that is vital to address. Bullying is defined as aggressive acts repeatedly perpetrated with intent to cause harm, with a perceived power imbalance felt by the recipient (Olweus, 1999). There are three criteria that must be present in order to be classified as bullying: Repetition, intentionality, and imbalance of power (Menesini & Salmivalli, 2017). Most efforts in this area have focused on reducing bullying behavior, with both whole of school and targeted approaches showing some success (Cook et al., 2010). However, a meta-analytic review of bullying interventions revealed that on average, school-based interventions led to only a small decrease in bullying (20–23%) and an even smaller decrease in victimization (17–20%) while programs that worked with peers actually led to an increase in victimization (Ttofi & Farrington, 2010). These findings have since been critiqued, and it has been noted that further exploration is needed to understand exactly what works, for which populations, and within which contexts (Smith et al., 2012). Therefore, further research is needed in bullying prevention, and it is equally important to focus efforts on helping victims of bullying to recover.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of School Violence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2021


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