The results were never going to be good, but the recent findings of a report into the health problems linked to bullying make disturbing reading for parents.
The study from the Boston Children’s Hospital, published in Paediatrics, states that childhood bullying can cause long-term health problems that persist even into adult hood.
The study examined the effects that bullying has when it begins at a young age and continues through until the end of secondary school.
Children bullied for a longer period of time have poorer mental and physical health than those who have never been bullied, or were only bullied for a short period.
With the evidence suggesting that persistent bullying severely impacts a child’s health, the report’s author Laura Bogart phD confirmed “that its negative effects can accumulate and get worse with time,” whereas if the bullying is stopped quickly, the chances of it having a lasting or damaging long term effect on health are minimized.
The study of 4.297 children in grades five to ten indicated that bullying at any age caused symptoms of depression and reduced self-esteem. Bullied children also reported a greater difficulty with running and sports activities.
In order to prevent the problems linked to bullying it is crucial to understand and recognise some of the signs of bullying in children so that it can be stopped before long-term damage occurs.
Signs-of bullying to look out for include:
- Suspicious injury
- Missing or damaged personal belongings
- Frequent complaints of headaches, stomach aches and faked illness
- Sudden rages at home
- Lack of interest in peer interaction
While some or even all of this is normal behaviour in most children at some point, the regular occurrence of any of the above should be seen as a warning flag that should not be ignored.