18-05 Segment 1: Adult Bullies–More Common Than We Think

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Bullying, while thought to be a problem confined to adolescence, is actually more common amongst adults than many are led to believe. In fact, nearly a third of adults have experienced bullying, and typically it happens in the workplace. Dr. Ron Riggio, Professor of Psychology and Leadership at Claremont McKenna College, explains that oftentimes child bullies will grow up into adult bullies if bullying is successful for them when they are young. Bullying can be done for many reasons, but Charles Sophy, Medical Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, says that it is usually connected to a person’s insecurities and low self-esteem.

In the workplace the bully is often a boss but other coworkers can be bullies too. Most workplace bullies are men, but women bully too, and when they do other women are typically their targets. Dr. Riggio explains that bullies in the workplace tend to pick out people who are different, often workers with disabilities, or those who are part of underrepresented groups. The effects from bullying can be severe many victims will suffer from psychological problems, such as anxiety, appetite and sleep changes, and depression.

Why does bullying continue to be present in the workplace, and how can the victims be helped? Riggio explains that the bullying is often subtle, verbal, and behind the victim’s back. Even so, many people say they have witnessed a coworker being bullied, but they did not say anything. Dr. Gary Namie, Director at Workplace Bullying Institute, says that this is a problem because victims should not be in charge of reporting their bully. He explains that three groups of people can help victims of workplace bullying: coworkers offering support by getting over their fear of being the next victim, employers enforcing regulations, and lawmakers creating anti-workplace bullying bills. While workplace bullying has not been stopped some states are beginning to take a stand against it.


  • Ron Riggio, Professor of Psychology and Leadership at Claremont McKenna College
  • Dr. Charles Sophy, Medical Director, Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services
  • Dr. Gary Namie, Director at Workplace Bullying Institute

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Medical Notes 17-21



Medical Notes this week…

Going gluten-free is very popular, but a new study finds that if you don’t have celiac disease, there’s no point in it. In fact, it may even hurt you. The 25-year study in the journal BMJ shows that people who eat the lowest levels of gluten have a 15% higher risk of heart disease. Researchers say the results aren’t necessarily cause-and-effect, but when people restrict heart-healthy whole grains to reduce gluten exposure, they often end up eating more refined grains.

Kidney transplants in children are helping them survive longer. A study in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons shows that 96% of children who got a new kidney about 10 years ago are still alive today. The transplanted kidneys themselves are also surviving longer—78 percent of living donor kidneys are still functioning 10 years later, compared to less than half a few decades ago. Better immunosuppression drugs get much of the credit.

And finally, if you’ve heard fewer kids complaining about being bullied lately, there’s a reason. Researchers have documented a significant decline in school bullying over the last 10 years. An ongoing study in the journal Pediatrics asks students about their experience with bullying over the last month. Since 2005, the proportion of children saying they’d been bullied has dropped about two percent per year to below 10 percent. Fewer than half of students also say they’ve witnessed bullying in the most recent survey. In 2005, about two-thirds of kids said they’d witnessed it.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

16-22 Segment 1: Bullying Kids with Special Needs

Child being bullied

CYBER BULLYING GUIDE: Here’s a great resource to educate families about the importance and impact of cyber bullying. The guide points out the warning signs, how to report and prevent it in the future.

Many children are bullied especially in the middle school years, but kids with disabilities are about twice as likely to be victims. Experts discuss the problem and how parents and schools can work together to prevent bullying of these children.

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