Bullying in Social Psychology

Bullying in Social Psychology

Bullying in social psychology is a complex phenomenon based on the reciprocal reinforcement mechanism where Individuals, Environment and Behavior influence one another.

Bullying represents a dysfunctional relationship, one of the most serious forms of group deviance.

Moreover, bullying generates lasting effects on both the bully and the victim, thus inducing on the former several behavioral and psychological disturbances, such as mental disorders and anti-social behaviors and on the latter depression, vulnerability and progressive annihilation of self-esteem.

One of the most convincing theories, which represents the foundation of psychosocial studies about bullying was developed by Albert Bandura and consists in the reciprocal reinforcement mechanism, either conscious or unconscious.

Bandura’s concept of reciprocal determinism explains how the individual, the environment and behavior influence one another.

The principle is the same, common to every form of persecution and it also means that persecution starts once point is surpassed that has every further transgression justified and every sense of responsibility besides the first violence skipped.

The worst forms of moral disengagement are the cognitive strategies which make the people justify their transgressions and skip their own responsibility. It is the principle of “everyone does it” or “because everyone did it” or “I was obeying others’ orders as well” or the so-called “spreading of responsibility” which leads to dehumanization of the act itself and that of the victims.

It’s exactly that reinforcement of reciprocity the mechanism by which violence becomes broader and broader, heavier and heavier.

Pathological effects of bullying wounds must be known and discussed in every classroom, family, context and community in order to raise awareness against bullying.


Psychology cannot tell people how they ought to live their lives. It can however, provide them with the means for effecting personal and social change.



Bandura's quote

Bandura’s quote





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