Psychology, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Annual Review of Law and Social Science 2012. 8:213–30

doi 10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-102811-173820


Copyright (c) 2012 by Annual Reviews.


The effects of bullying on the bully and the victim can be wide reaching, impacting schoolwork, familial and peer relationships, psychological well-being, and physical health. As such, schools work to implement different intervention and prevention programs. Additionally, a variety of both criminal and civil legal interventions have recently been used to prevent or punish bullying. Most US states have enacted antibullying legislation that prohibits bullying behaviors, but definitional issues that are present in the empirical research are also present in such statutes. For instance, some states focus only on physical forms of bullying or leave definitions entirely up to individual communities and schools. Bullying victims also have the option to bring civil suits for tortious acts related to the bullying; this review provides examples of the difficulties with bringing such cases.