Traumatic events, such as bullying, may lead to both distress and enhanced levels of well-being. In order to test this theory, a study was carried out to measure optimism in 2,441 participants aged 12-
19 across 13 Irish schools, 312 of whom were bullied on a daily basis, whilst the additional 454 experienced perpetration “once a month” or “once a week”. The results showed that Targets of bullying scored lower on the level of overall optimism, in comparison to those who
have not been bullied. However, further analysis found that young people who experienced bullying on a daily basis reported the highest levels of optimism in negative situations. This result suggests that experiencing bullying may have helped participants develop symptoms
of Posttraumatic Growth. The implications of this finding, in relation to therapists, are discussed.