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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Classification of Symptoms in Victims of Bullying


Although Western societies have begun to take bullying more seriously in the past few decades, the negative effects of bullying on victims remain in a diagnostic limbo, making access to adequate treatment difficult. Currently, a debate is taking place among psychologists as to whether bullying should be established as a causal precursor of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder – if bullying were established as a causal precursor of PTSD, victims could more easily receive treatment for their symptoms through PTSD treatment methods. To determine which side of the debate is correct, this literature review analyzed research that links bullying effects with PTSD symptomology and assesses whether the arguments of each side of the debate are valid. Analysis of literature revealed that symptoms of bullying victimization satisfy the diagnostic criteria for PTSD as stated by the DSM-V, and that while arguments against the establishment of bullying as a causal precursor of PTSD are flawed, arguments for the establishment are better supported. This literature review concludes with a discussion on best possible treatment methods for victims of bullying.

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