Bullied, Blamed, Broken: The Impact of Victim Blame on Bullied Adolescents’ Ego Establishment


  • Estelle Zhang Hangzhou Foreign Languages School
  • Wanting Wang
  • Lingping Hu




school bullying, victim blame, identity formation, Erik Erikson


School bullying is widely recognized as a significant social issue. Past studies have discovered a potential connection between school bullying and identity crisis, drawing from Erik Erikson’s theory about psychological developmental stages. However, there is a dearth of research examining the possible influence of victim blame on bullied students’ identity formation during adolescence, especially with sufficient quantitative evidence. Addressing this research gap, the current study aims to investigate the correlation between victim blame and bullied students' identity crisis with quantitative measures. To comprehensively analyze the relationship between these three factors, this research focuses on the following question: How does victim blame impact the establishment of ego in bullied adolescents? To answer this question, data was collected from participants with high school experience and classifying them into control and treatment group. research tools were employed simultaneously: James E. Cote’s identity crisis modality model, Erik Erikson’s theory about psychological growth phases, and a quantitative survey consisting of close-ended questions. The findings reveal that most participants in the treatment group exhibited a sharp increase in identity crisis levels during adolescence, accompanied by frequent acute fluctuations in identity crisis level. This period also coincides with their experience of both victim blame and school bullying. Furthermore, the results demonstrate a positive correlation between victim blame and bullied students’ identity crisis. This research offers fresh insight to the psychology of bullied adolescent students, and future studies should aim to expand the scope of inquiry into the process of identity formation.


Download data is not yet available.

References or Bibliography

Bogaerts, A., Claes, L., Buelens, T., Verschueren, M., Palmeroni, N., Bastiaens, T., & Luyckx, K. (2021). Identity synthesis and confusion in early to late adolescents: Age trends, gender differences, and associations with depressive symptoms. Journal of Adolescence(87), pp. 106-116. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2021.01.006

Byrd, R. C. (1971). Identity confusion and related variables as factors in college dropout: An exploratory study with implications for counseling. Dissertation Abstracts International, 3615B-3616B.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Bullying surveillance among youths: Uniform definitions for public health and recommended data elements. Retrieved from National Center for Injury Prevention and Control: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/bullyingresearch/fastfact.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Preventing bullying. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/yv/bullying-factsheet508.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Adolescent and school health. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/2021/2021-YRBS-Standard-HS-Questionnaire.pdf

Cote, J. E. (1986, December). Identity crisis modality: A technique for assessing the structure of the identity crisis. Journal of Adolescence, 9, 321-335. doi:10.1016/S0140-1971(86)80039-2

Erikson, E. H., & Erikson, J. M. (1997). The life cycle completed. New York: W.W.Norton & Company, Inc.

Hunt, E. (2016, May 17). 'Is he a whinger?': School's anti-bullying advice labelled victim blaming. Retrieved from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/17/is-he-a-whinger-schools-anti-bullying-advice-labelled-victim-blaming

Kivnick, H. Q., & Wells, C. K. (2014, February). Untapped richness in Erik H. Erikson’s rootstock. The Gerontologist, 54(1), 40-50. doi:10.1093/geront/gnt123

Knight, Z. G. (2017). A proposed model of psychodynamic psychotherapy linked to Erik Erikson's eight stages of psychosocial development. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 24(5), 1047-1058. doi:10.1002/cpp.2066

Koppenhafer, K. (2021, April 26). Retraumatized: The long-term consequences of victim blaming. Retrieved from Boston University: https://sites.bu.edu/daniellerousseau/2021/04/26/retraumatized-the-long-term-consequences-of-victim-blaming/

Marcia, J. E. (1964). Determination and construct validity of ego identity status. The Ohio State University. Clinical Psychology Doctoral Dissertation.

Orenstein, G. A., & Lewis, L. (2020, November 22). Eriksons stages of psychosocial development. StatPearls[Internet].

Rasmussen, J. E. (1964). Relationship of ego identity to psychosocial effectiveness. Psychological Reports, 15, 815-825.

Roazen, P. (1976). Erik H. Erikson: The power and limits of a vision. New York: Free Press.

Salmon, S., Turner, S., Taillieu, T., Fortier, J., & Afifi, T. O. (2018). Bullying victimization experiences among middle and high school adolescents: Traditional bullying, discriminatory harassment, and cybervictimization. Journal of Adolescence(63), pp. 29-40. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.12.005

Sanchez, F. R. (2019). The effects of bullying on identity. Winona State University. Counselor Education Capstones.

Schroeder, M. O. (2016). The psychological impact of victim-blaming – and how to stop it. Retrieved from U.S. News & World Report: https://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2016-04-19/the-psychological-impact-of-victim-blaming-and-how-to-stop-it

The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime(Centre Canadien De Ressources Pour Les Victimes De Crimes). (2016, July). Victim blaming in Canada. Retrieved from Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime: https://crcvc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Victim-Blaming-in-Canada_DISCLAIMER.pdf

U.S. Department of Education. (2019, July). Student reports of bullying: Results from the 2017 school crime supplement to the national crime victimization survey. Retrieved from PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center: https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2019/2019054.pdf

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. (2012). Youth health survey report. Retrieved from Winnipeg Regional Health Authority: https://wrha.mb.ca/wp-content/site-documents/community/publichealth/files/WCRHA-Metro.pdf

World Health Organization. (2019). Adolescent health. Retrieved from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/health-topics/adolescent-health#tab=tab_1



How to Cite

Zhang, E., Wang, W., & Hu, L. (2023). Bullied, Blamed, Broken: The Impact of Victim Blame on Bullied Adolescents’ Ego Establishment. Journal of Student Research, 12(3). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsrhs.v12i3.5112



AP Capstone™ Research