Role of Pediatric Emergency Physicians in Identifying Bullying

Muhammad Waseem, Audrey Paul, Gerald Schwartz, Denis Pauzé, Paul Eakin, Isabel Barata, Doug Holtzman, Lee S. Benjamin, Joseph L. Wright, Amanda B. Nickerson, Madeline Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background Bullying is an important public health issue with broad implications. Although this issue has been studied extensively, there is limited emergency medicine literature addressing bullying. The emergency department (ED) physician has a unique opportunity to identify children and adolescents that are victims of bullying, and make a difference in their lives. Objective Our aim is to discuss the role of the emergency physician (EP) in identifying patients who have been victims of bullying and how to provide effective management as well as referral for further resources. Discussion This document provides a framework for recognizing, stabilizing, and managing children who have experienced bullying. With the advent of social media, bullying behavior is not limited to in-person situations, and often occurs via electronic communication, further complicating recognition because it may not impart any physical harm to the child. Recognition of bullying requires a high level of suspicion, as patients may not offer this history. After the stabilization of any acute or overt indications of physical injury, along with obtaining a history of the mechanism of injury, the EP has the opportunity to identify the existence of bullying as the cause of the injury, and can address the issue in the ED while collaborating with “physician-extenders,” such as social workers, toward identifying local resources for further support. Conclusions The ED is an important arena for the assessment and management of children who have experienced bullying. It is imperative that EPs on the front lines of patient care address this public health epidemic. They have the opportunity to exert a positive impact on the lives of the children and families who are the victims of bullying.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-252
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • bullying
  • peer violence
  • victimization


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