Social Psychology of Education

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 185–200 | Cite as

Bullying affects more than feelings: the long-term implications of victimization on academic motivation in higher education

  • Adena Young-JonesEmail author
  • Sophie Fursa
  • Jacqueline S. Byrket
  • James S. Sly


Bullying has become a prominent topic within education due to recent media headlines in the United States and abroad. The impact of these occurrences ripples beyond the bully and victim to include administrators, parents, and fellow students. While previous research has concluded bullying behaviors decrease as a child progresses in school, more recent studies found bullying can continue into college. The current project investigated differences between perceptions of bullying in high school and college along with how college students’ experiences with bullying impacted several constructs related to academic success (i.e., basic psychological needs, academic motivation, perceived social support, and perceived stress). Participants (\(N = 130\), 68 male) completed a Perceptions of Bullying Questionnaire, Basic Psychological Needs Scale (BPNS), Academic Motivation Scale, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, Perceived Stress Scale, and a demographic data form. The results indicate participants who described themselves as either current or past bullying victims had significantly lower academic motivation than respondents who did not. In addition, current victims of bullying scored significantly lower on two of the three constructs in the BPNS: autonomy and competence. These findings suggest students are susceptible to bullying after high school, and the effects can negatively impact college life, academic motivation, and educational outcomes. In addition, past victimization can cause academic difficulties for college students, even after the harassment has ceased.


Bullying Higher education Academic motivation  Basic psychological needs Basic needs 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adena Young-Jones
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sophie Fursa
    • 1
  • Jacqueline S. Byrket
    • 1
  • James S. Sly
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentMissouri State UniversitySpringfieldUSA

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