Childhood bullying leads to long-term mental health problems | Science News

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Childhood bullying leads to long-term mental health problems

Being picked on by peers worse threat than child abuse, study suggests

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3:00pm, April 28, 2015
Bullying

WITHOUT PEER  U.S. and British evidence indicates that repeated bullying in childhood leads to at least as many or more mental health problems in young adulthood as maltreatment by adults does. 

Bullying by peers scars children’s mental health over the long haul as much as — or more than — abuse by adults does, a new analysis of U.S. and British kids finds.

By young adulthood, many victims of repeated bullying experience anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal thinking and behavior. Their rates of these mental health issues are at least as high as those reported by victims of both child abuse and bullying, say psychologist Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, and his colleagues.

Being maltreated by adults — but not picked on by peers — generally leads to fewer long-lasting mental health issues. Abused-but-not-bullied British children display rates of mental problems as young adults comparable to those of kids who were neither maltreated nor bullied, Wolke’s team reports online April 28 in Lancet Psychiatry

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