DEFINITION OF BULLYING
The original definition of bullying developed by Olweus stated that “A student is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed, intentionally, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more students”1. The concept of “negative actions” has been gradually expanded to include “physical aggression (hitting, pushing, punching, or kicking); verbal harassment (threatening, teasing, name calling, or making faces or dirty gestures); and indirect or relational mistreatment (ignoring someone or excluding him or her on purpose)”2. Furthermore “daring a person to perform a dangerous, illegal, or inappropriate action under the threat of losing approval or of not being liked or loved, should also be considered a form of bullying”3. In this context hazing could be considered a form of bullying. What is understood as bullying varies according to human developmental stages and cultures 4.
“From the health perspective it is difficult to validate the intentionality component in the concept of bullying. Some students may bully others without planning or intending to do so, as their impulsive and aggressive behaviour could be the result of a faulty regulation in the control of impulses, as is found in the case of young people suffering from Tourette Disorder or Impulse Control Disorder. The victim still gets affected and feels bullied, regardless of intentionality. Furthermore, the Olweus definition calls for the need for bullying to be repetitive and over time. This aspect of the concept of bullying may be in contradiction to clinical reality about the ill effects of this form of abuse, as one episode may be sufficient to cause significant emotional and/or physical harm.” 5
1. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do? (p.9) Oxford: Blackwell. http://books.google.com/books?id=y-NgrXeDC9IC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Bullying+at+school:+What+we+know+and+what+we+can+do?&hl=en&sa=X&ei=sAMFUsHoHu6v4AO8o4CIAQ&ved=0CEgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Bullying%20at%20school%3A%20What%20we%20know%20and%20what%20we%20can%20do%3F&f=false
2. Olweus, D. (1999). Norway. In P. K. Smith, Y. Morita, J.Junger-Tas, D.Olweus, R.Catalano and P.Slee(Eds.), The Nature of Bullying. A Cross-National Perspective (p.31). Routledge, London and New York http://books.google.com/books?id=Fj6i8AHNT5AC&dq=P.+K.+Smith,+Y.+Morita,+J.Junger-Tas,+D.Olweus,+R.Catalano+and+P.Slee&hl=en&sa=X&ei=IQQFUp_3NK3-4AOvo4D4DQ&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA
3. Srabstein, J. Be Aware of Bullying: A Public Health Responsibility, Virtual Mentor. February 2009, Volume 11, Number 2: 173-177. http://virtualmentor.ama-assn.org/2009/02/oped1-0902.html
4. Smith PK, Monks CP. Concepts of bullying: developmental and cultural aspects. Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2008 Apr-Jun;20(2):101-12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Smith+PK%2C+Monks+CP.+Concepts+of+bullying%3A+developmental
5. Srabstein, J.C. (2011). The prevention of bullying: A whole school and community model. In R.H. Shute, P.T. Slee, R. Murray-Harvey, & K.L. Dix (Eds.), Mental health and wellbeing: Educational perspectives, (pp.299-300). Adelaide: Shannon Research Press. http://ehlt.flinders.edu.au/education/SRP/files/books_others.htm