We live in a very progressive age. In the news, it often seems like every historically stigmatized group is getting the attention they deserve. A question has arose, though: has the increased media attention and lack of interventions in schools led to students part of stigmatized groups being bullied more often?
Obviously, stigmatized bullying has always been around, but the increased media attention has brought more awareness to it–thus making these kids a target. A recent study conducted by the University of Delaware delved into the link between bullying and stigma.

Is bullying based on stigma more harmful?

They wanted to figure out whether being bullied based on a stigmatized characteristic was more harmful than “typical” bullying. The results came back as: yes. When they refer to “bullying based on stigma,” they mean being treated unfairly based on sexual orientation, gender, race, or other characteristics.

The reason stigma-based bullying may be more harmful is still a bit of a mystery. Researchers think it may be linked to our identity. Our identities can be based around these characteristics, which means an attack on them is a lot more damaging. Also, they also looked into the current methods being used to intervene in stigmatized bullying and whether they’re effective.

Can our current methods be improved?

While the study found schools increasingly use stigma-based bullying interventions, there are still many problems with the system. Lead author, Valerie Earnshaw, believes there needs to be more steps put into place to prevent, identify, and address bullying of specifically LGBTQ students (the most stigmatized group).
More strategies to reduce stereotypes and prejudiced behavior need to be implemented to really make a difference in stigma-based bullying. The researchers even went so far as to say that using prevention techniques could help reduce school shootings.
Until schools start making a real effort to not only identify bullying, but prevent it, these issues will only prevail and worsen. As parents, we need to make an effort to request changes be made.
If you believe your child is struggling with bullying–whether they be the bully or the victim–it’s critical to reach out to a professional for further guidance.

blueFire Wilderness is here for your family

blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for teens. We help teens, ages 11 to 17, grappling with depression, ADHD, anxiety, defiance, and other emotional or behavioral problems.

At blueFire, we strive to help each client find their inner confidence and succeed. We believe that through a balance of self-assessment, insight oriented therapy, outdoor living, adventure activities and academic focus these teens will find their true selves. We provide a supportive opportunity for parents and children to reconnect and strengthen their relationship.
For more information about help for bullying at blueFire Wilderness, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today.

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