The Experiences of the High School Bullied Students in Divine Life Institute of Cebu: a Phenomenological Study

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The study willed to discover the experiences of bullied high school students in Divine Life Institute of Cebu. This utilized a phenomenological research design on the respondents’ account on their experiences in bullying. The researchers make use of an interview with these students in order to have an in-depth information with a purposive sampling design. They have picked the bullied students. Upon the interview, the researchers have seen the different emotions that the respondents have shown. It has been narrated by the respondents of what are their coping mechanism, how does bullying affect their lives, and what are the learnings that they have earned. The researchers have found out the inkling of the respondents from their experiences, their coping mechanisms, the effects of it to them, and their learnings from it. It is recommended also that those people who are responsible must be active enough to avoid this situation.


The school plays a vital role in the holistic development of a child. It is the place where the students interact and socialize with their classmates. The physical and social environment of the students greatly affect the way a child learns and get along with others. Thus, it is very essential that school will be able to provide and cater the needs of the students not just intellectually but also emotionally and socially.

Bullying is one of the most pressing issues that school needs to address. Bullying is characterized by the different actions of a bullied person. One of the obligations and goals of the school is to prevent bullying and to promote anti-bullying. Bullying can affect a student’s academic performance, self-esteem, and his or her life. No one knows how he or she feels about it and how big or small the impact can be to him or her. For some instance, there are some students who are bullied and do not go to school anymore because they are afraid. Some student’s academic performance has negatively affected. Some do not participate during class discussion because they are timid. And the worst is, some students may opt to commit suicide because they thought that it is the only way to solve the issue.

The Department of Education (DepEd) welcomes the signing of the Anti-Bullying Law  which protects students from bullying and other forms of violence that may be inflicted by all. Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs Atty. Alberto Muyot said that the Department of Education (DepEd) is the bridge in the reintegration of the children at risk. Despite the actions of the government, there are still students who physically and emotionally hurt others. The bullies are so insensitive in a way that they are so numb anymore to feel what the bullied students feel. They don’t consider other people’s sentiments. They are just focusing on their ids and egos. Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory stated that id is the primitive and instinctive component of personality which means the person only thinks about pleasure while the ego develops in order to mediate between the unrealistic id and the external real world. This means that a person will balance the situation. It’s whether he or she will follow his or her id or the superego .


The primary purpose of the study is to find out: [1] the effects of bullying in relation to the academic performance of the bullied High School students,  the inkling of the bullied students, [3] the coping mechanism of the bullied High School students in their experiences in bullying.


The phenomenological study of bullying to the High School students of Divine Life Institute of Cebu can give light to the possible remedies affecting the lives of different sectors of the community most especially to the educational institution. The findings of this study identified the benefits that can be of great help to the following:

Students. This study will make the students be aware of the possible effects and coping mechanisms of bullying. Thus, this will help them become better and responsible individuals who will take the brighter side of the adversities they may be experiencing.

Administrators. Would be given new insights to create a program that will address the issue of bullying and give the necessary intervention needed in order to give the students avenue for personal and social development.

Teachers. Would be sensitive and well- adjusted to take the lead to uplift the morale and self-esteem of their students who are experiencing bullying.

Guidance Counselors - Would be given an additional perception about all the information regarding to the bullied students and make use of the data for further assessment and intervention. Provide a conducive avenue for guidance and counselling that victims won’t be hesitant to approach.

Parents/Guardians. Would be more responsible in monitoring their child’s performance and interpersonal relationship in school that could be the greatest factor of their motivation to go to school and be more aware about their roles in assisting their children’s education and be reminded that they have to prioritize actions that will look into the welfare of their children;

Future Researchers. The finding of this study may help them further enrich the knowledge on the research and carry out a more comprehensive and useful research addressing the issue about bullying.


This case was conducted at Divine Life Institute of Cebu, a private High School located in Yati, Lilo-an, Cebu. This concentrated on the effects of bullying in relation to the academic performances of the bullied High School students of DLIC, S.Y. 2017 – 2018. This used a qualitative type of research to examine the experiences of the bullied high school students. Further, it emphasized the respondents’ narratives and responses to their experiences in bullying through the use of interview as the main tool in gathering the data in terms of breadth and depth.


The following terms used in the study are defined in accordance with how they were used in the study. Bullying is a form of abuse that can make a person feel down and hopeless. Victims of Bullying are the people who have experienced bullying or people who have been bullied; Bully is a person who intimidate or do the act of bullying; Psychological Effect is the emotional and mental effects to students. Absenteeism is the practice of regularly staying away of the students from school. Self-Esteem is the confidence of the bullied students or self-respect. High School Students are the grade 7 to 12 students. Guidance Counselor is a person who is in authority to give an advice and information aimed at resolving a problem or difficulty. Counselling is an action that gives professional psychological help and advice to (someone) Intervention is an action taken to improve a situation.


Bullying is a serious issue that is continually affecting the lives of everyone. Unfortunately, bullying in schools are very rampant nowadays. However, some people are not aware that this problem hampers the capacity of students to learn and communicate .  emphasized that bullying often occurs in hallways, locker rooms, rest rooms, cafeterias, and bus stops because these are the areas with less adult supervision. In contrary to Golembiewski’s thought,  believed that bullying is just a normal behavior development. He emphasized that the capability of human beings is to be aggressive or to bully sometimes. Just like teasing. It is considered as a part of a person’s life. It is known that boys and girls are both involved in bullying but  have researched that boys are more involved in bullying compared to girls.

There are several reasons why a person may become a bully, but reiterated that one of the factors is environment.  reported that male bullies through or by dominating, disruptive in class, unable to concentrate, and not behaving well while female bullies are described as talkative, rude, dominating, and using bad language. According to , one of the reasons of bullying is race or ethnicity. People may have tendencies to discriminate other people who are different. believed that the goal of a bully is to have power and control other people maybe because they feel superior when they bully.  supported the idea that bullying is an attempt to make them feel superior. The bullies discovered that bullying is the strategy that works the most.

According to , those who are victims of bullying are having a hard time focusing on their school works and may experience laziness in academic performance. It is also hard for them to socialize and have emotional adjustments. Bank’s article “Bullying in School” states that bullying during school years have a strong correlation between the criminal or legal problems in adulthood  while  emphasizes the distinct gender differences. For boys who are bullied, they are affected emotionally but they are not associated with absenteeism and for the girls who are bullied, they are affected emotionally and are associated with absenteeism.  also included that the victims of bullying may duffer humiliation, insecurity, and loss of self-esteem and may be afraid in going to school. When they reach adulthood, the effects may lead to depression and other mental health problems. 

The worst effect is when the victims believe that suicide is the only way to solve this kind of problem. They see that it is the only alternative way to free themselves  but  credited that not only the victims of bullying are potentially affected, also the bully himself may suffer. That’s why they bully because they were being bullied.  accepted that these effects won’t happen if bullying is managed early. It will lessen the chances of bullying and violence but  stated that many times bullying is not addressed in some schools. They believe that some educators are not ready to handle this kind of case and they are not trained to identify or recognize bullying.

According to (Sarazen, 2002), those people who are victims of bullying or abused need adult support and guidance. They should be asked or interviewed to lessen their fears and trauma. In schools, the teachers have the rights to see the effects of bullying in many ways. They should see if it affects the students emotionally, physically, mentally, socially, and academically. believed that these aspects are important. These can be an advantage and disadvantage towards their academic success.  have studied that it is important that parents and teachers are aware about bullies and victims. Educating the parents and teachers can help a lot in identifying the victims of bullying.


This chapter includes the Research Design, Research Instruments, Research Respondents, Data Gathering Procedure, Research Environment, and Sampling Design.


This study utilized a phenomenological type of research. It intended to discover the effects of bullying to the selected High School students of Divine Life Institute of Cebu. The study was focused on the experiences of the students when they are bullied. Further, the study was conducted in order to extrapolate the causes and the effects of bullying in the academic, emotional, and social aspects of the bullied students.


Purposive sampling design refers to the type of sampling that the researchers have used in choosing their sample. This was conducted on the 10 bullied high school students in Divine Life Institute of Cebu. These students allowed the researchers to conduct an interview with them. They were asked about their experiences in bullying, how they cope with it, what are the effects of it in their academic performance, their perception about it, and what are their recommendations and advices were discussed by the researchers.


To collect the data needed for the study, the researcher used the following instruments:

Sound Recorder. This was used to record the answers of the respondents during the paired interview.

Students Profile Data Sheet. This tool sought to gather students’ personal information such as name and sex. Part of the survey questionnaire was meant to identify their profile.

Interview Guide Questions. These are the questions that the researchers have asked to the respondents.


The study involved bullied High school students of Divine Life Institute of Cebu enrolled in School Year 2017-2018. These four sections were St. Theresa of Calcutta, St. Pedro Calungsod, St. John Paul, and St. Nicholas. A total of ten (10) students were chosen in the study, consisting of 6 males and 4 females.


The researcher made use of an interview guide question to have an in-depth study of the respondents. The respondents were interviewed one by one at their own convenience. Prior to the interview, a letter of permission was given to them for confirmation. The responses were recorded for the purpose of retrieval.

When the respondents allowed the researchers to be part of their study, the researchers conducted a 30 minute interview with each of them. The respondents were asked to answer questions and fill in some needed information about their profile.


The researchers conducted the study at Divine Life Institute of Cebu. Divine Life Institute of Cebu was formerly the KFI Life Educational Center (KFI-LEC). This was one of the projects of Kaalam foundation Inc. St. Therese of the Child Jesus is the patroness of the school. On the 8th of December 2008, the school was founded and the name and corporate structure of the school was changed from KFI Life Educational Center (A project of Kaalam Foundation, Inc.) to Divine Life Institute of Cebu. The school is offering quality education from Pre-Elementary to Senior High School. It is located in Yati, Liloan, Cebu.


The Inkling of the Bullied Students Respondents’ thoughts of what are reasons why people bullied them are in different situations. These cases are the following: being introvert or loner, mocking or teasing based on physique, being different, and avoidance of conflict, superiority complex, and dominant behavior. You will get bullied if you are shy or introvert. A person who doesn't like to mingle and who doesn't intervene in the lives of others is conceived as a soft target by bullies but still it is not normal. Being bullied for whatever reason is still being bullied (Tripathy, 2015). Being introvert or shy is the reason why you are different. Thinking that you are different may let you think that you are not physically blessed. According to (Reporter, 2010) due to your physical appearance, you will be teased. These teases will lead to mental disorders. However, some will just tolerate bullying to avoid conflicts. Tolerating bullying is one of the best solutions that some of the respondents know.

The Coping Mechanisms of Bullied Students

Bullying is part of a person’s life. Some may ignore it because it is just normal and some may take it seriously that leads to depression or suicide. However, Respondents answered that being bullied can have negative effects to someone emotionally. They are hurt, sad, lonely, and feeling down. These feelings are the common emotional effects that are evident to bullied students. These are the very first feelings that a bullied person may feel. Two respondents disclosed:

“Of course it hurts because it is bullying. You will ask yourself why they bully you. (Sakit syempre kay bully gud na. Makapangutana ka sa imong self nganung gi bully ka.)” 

“Yes it hurts me because sometimes I can ask myself why they bully me despite my goodness but gladly that I had teachers who told me that I should ignore them. (Oo masakitan kay usahay maka-ingun ko nganu ila man ko bullyhon nga nag tinarong man unta ko pero naa raman po’y mga teachers nga m ingon nga pasagdan lang sila.)” 

These may also lead to anxiety, depression, and suicide. These are the lasting effects of bullying. Previous studies have found a link between bullying and a higher risk of mental health problems during childhood, such as low self-esteem, poor school performance, depression, and an increased risk for suicide (Alexander & Krans, 2015). On the other hand, some respondents just tolerate or ignore the bullies. On the other hand, (Team, 2015) believed that bullied people should not tolerate it. That they should let their friends, teachers, and family know what is going on, but Mohats clearly stated that bullying should be tolerated because it is just normal (Doucet, 2011). It is part of growing up. But despite these, they still managed to think positively. Being optimistic was the key for them to move forward. As what these respondents have answered.

“By thinking that when you are bullied, it is not the end of your life. Bullying is part of being a person, your life, and your existence. (Ah. Thinking nga if ma bully ka, dili na mahunong imong life dira. Ma bully ka is part of being a person. Part of life. Part of your existence.)” 

Bullying is a behavior that cannot be ignored, but accepting positively. Raising awareness, acceptance, getting in school and community involvement is a good a way to get started (Takemoto, 2002). This shows of how they cope their experiences in bullying.

The Aftermath of Bullying

Bullying can affect everything. According to (, 2017), it has many negative outcomes as well. This may be the cause of their discouragement because this will lower their self-esteem, they will feel disconnected in school and will have lower academic outcomes including lower attendance (BulliesOut, 2017). This lower attendance may lead to absenteeism and absenteeism may lead to lower grades. As what these respondents have answered:

“I did not go to school anymore because they will only bully me. That’s why I got low grades. (Dili nako musud unya gamay na kaayo ko og kuha kay mu absent naman ko kay ila man ko bully-hon.)” 

“That was before but yes because sometimes I did not go to school. I was scared and felt lazy because they teased me like “curly, curly”. (Sauna raman gud to. Oo kay usahay di nako mu eskoyla kay mahadlok nako kapoy kaayo eskoyla kay daghan manungog like “kulot, kulot”.)” 

Some of the respondents thought that their experiences brought encouragement. It gives them a motivation to strive or study hard. found out that children who are bullied were often motivated by a desire to increase their popularity and that they chose generally unpopular victims to avoid losing social status. A respondent has proven this.

“It doesn’t affect my academic performance, it motivates me to do my best instead. (Wala man sya naka apekto sa academics. Mas na motivate ko.)” 

These perceptions show that the bullying’s effects still depend on the victims on how they are going to handle bullying. Effects may be positive or negative but whatever the effects are, victims can prove that they are strong.

The Erudition of Bullying

“We’ve got to dispel this myth that bullying is just normal rite of passage” . Sometimes a person who feel down but when a person heard others experience on their piece of advices it can help us to motivate and bring encouragement to the victim. More or less, the respondents have accepted already their flaws. They gain motivation within the scars. They have initiative that will take it and be a strong person. They accept that bullying is not the reason to give up rather they make things happen instead of getting easier to give in. They also need to develop practice and use assertiveness skills. They will sympathize to other bully victims and mingle to the people who they feel comfortable to be with.

“Mahimo kang lig-on nga tao. Sauna sigehan kog bully bitaw kay tungod mao ni akong pagkatao magboot sila. (You will become a strong person. Before they keep on bullying me because of my identity. They questioned my identity.)“ 

“Find another place para mag inusara. Mawa raman sad madugay. Sabton nalang jod nimo sila kay wa man kay mahimo. Mga bully man jod sila. Mga bata pa og utok. (By my absenses and finding a peaceful place where you can meditate. The pain will be gone soon. You just have to understand them because they are bully and they are not mature enough.)”

“Depende jud kay mas mutaas akong salig ka akong kaugalingon. (Yes, it depends. It can boost my self-confidence.)“

“Sa mga panahon ato nakahuna-huna na mag-insura ug dili nalng sila tagdon. (At that time, the only thing that came to my mind is that I will just not mind them or entertain them.)” 


Bullying is always present. A person may experience it due to different reasons. In this study, the researchers utilized a phenomenological type of research and their respondents are the bullied high school students in Divine Life Institute of Cebu. Purposive sampling design refers to the type of sampling that the researchers have used. In the findings of the study, the researchers have find out that respondents’ thoughts of what are reasons why people bullied them are in different situations. Some of their coping mechanisms are ignoring it because it is just normal and some may take it seriously that leads to depression or suicide. Even though they are ignoring it, still bullying affect everything but despite the effects, they still learned from it. They learned from the scars.


It is recommended that [1] bullied students must always think positive despite the bullies that they have received. [2] guidance counselor must give an anti-bullying seminar to the students at least once a year. [3] teachers must always assess his or her students’ situations. [4] parents must talk with their children always.


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The Experiences of the High School Bullied Students in Divine Life Institute of Cebu: A Phenomenological Study. (2021, Oct 14). Retrieved June 15, 2024 , from

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