Kids that are bullied face long term mental and physical health effectsWarning signs of bullying
Dr. Leana Boufford, PhD, associate professor Sam Houston State University and Director of the Crime Victim’s Institute stated "What is apparent from these results is that bullying victimization that occurs early in life may have significant and substantial consequences for those victims later in life.”
The new study was designed to examine the relationship between bullying and physical and mental health, health care access and usage, and health risk behaviors according to the study.
This current study on the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997, is a long term study that tracks a sample of U.S. residents born between 1980 and 1984. With the results that focuses on participants that were aged 12 and 14 years at the first interview in 1997 that was initially given to 4,834 12 to 14 year old with 19% of the participants saying they had been a victim of repeated bullying in early childhood.
A follow-up interview had occurred five years later between 2002 and 2003 at which time participants were between the ages of 18 and 21 and answered a variety of questions their physical and mental health, involvement in risky health behaviors and including access to and using health care.
The study revealed victims of bullying had a more negative opinion of their general and mental health and higher rates of emotional/mental or behavioral problems that interfered with school or work. Researchers found victims of bullying in early childhood were more likely to report only fair to poor health status in comparison to those who were not bullied.
In answering the question as to how many times in the previous year they had been injured or ill to miss work or other activities and not seen a doctor, 31.9% of bullying victims reported being injured or ill and not going to the doctor at least twice in the previous year.
Researchers also looked at risky health behaviors that included alcohol and tobacco usage and risky sexual behaviors and other risky behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence.
Victims of bullying reported an average of 3.16 drinks daily during the previous month with 32.8% bullied victims engaged in binge drinking.
Tobacco usage in the previous year showed 49.6% of victims smoked.
Also, asked was if they had been a victim of violence within the last five years revealed victims of bullying were twice as likely to report violent victimization later on.
When it came to mental health status on average victims of bullying in early childhood had reported more negative mental health in comparison to those who did not experience bullying.
Almost twice as many victims of bullying reported suffering from emotional or mental condition.
Maria Koeppel, co-author of the study stated "While these are adverse consequences themselves, they may also serve as intermediate mechanism for even more long-term health issues, such as cancer, alcoholism, depression and other serious problems.”
This study appears online at Crime Victim’s Institute.
This year a Swedish study which followed 900 students from the age of 16 years until they reached the age of 43 had revealed that those who felt bullied left out or isolated as a student were at a higher risk for poor health as an adult and likely to suffer from conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Recent statistics reveal one in four children will be a victim of bullying with 77% of bullying victims being bullied mentally, physically and verbally.
Every seven minutes a child will be bullied.
More information on bullying can be found online at Stop Bullying.