A new Canadian study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that childhood bullying leads to health problems in adulthood. Previous research showed that mental illness was caused in the children and teenagers who were being bullied, but this is the first time that a study studied the long time effects of bullying.
The data used for the study was taken from a previous Canadian research conducted between 2003 and 2004 and containing six interviews. 662 participants were surveyed, with ages between 12 and 19. The teenagers were asked how many times lies were spread bout them and how often were they shoved by their schoolmates. They were also asked if they experienced health problems and how often and also how they feel about their bodies. The health problems the kids were asked about included insomnia, dizziness and headaches.
Between 29% and 52% of the boys reported physical bullying while in school, and around 29% of the girls. Psychological abuse was registered by about 40% of the boys and 37% of the girls. These numbers show the children who only experienced bullying once in a while. About 1,5% of the surveyed kids experienced bullying all the time. Throughout the study, the girls showed more symptoms of the physical abuse and also had a worse body image than the boys. Also, physical bullying had less effect than the emotional bullying on the health of the kids. The study was limited though, because most of the surveyed kids were white.
The conclusion of the study is that physical and psychological bullying is linked to health problems on both short and long terms. One of the authors of the study, Alana D. Hager from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, said that other health problems caused by bullying include depression, somatic symptoms, low self-esteem and depression. Bullying can also affect the performance of the people in school and later at work. Relationships have more severe outcomes though.
Another recent study showed that children bullied at 8 years old have higher chances of developing psychiatric disorders. These severe disorders are caused by the combination of stress, biological changes and peer victimization. The impact of bullying can have alarming effects especially on the teenagers who are in the period where their self-esteem and the development of their identity is influenced a lot by their peers.
In the United States, 77% of the students are being bullied mentally and verbally, and from them 30% will end up being bullies as well. The authors’ findings that childhood bullying leads to health problems in adulthood, shows that more efforts should be done in order to avoid not only bullying, but its effects on health as well.
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