Bullying and health issues go hand in hand for teens according to a newly published Canadian study. Featuring in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the study followed 662 teens aged between 12 years old and 19 years old for a period of ten years.
The results of the study present a clear cut image of the link between physical or emotional bullying and health problems that may develop from an early age and progress into adulthood. The most common health problems identified in the study and linked with teens who were bullied were insomnia, a poor body image, dizziness, abdominal pain, backaches and headaches.
Being a child or a teenager in school is quite difficult. Apparent meaningless taunts carelessly attributed to age may impact the health of those who are the targets in a significant way.
According to Alanna Hager of the Metropolitan State University, Denver and co-author of the study, health problems, either physical or mental are bound to interfere with academic performance or professional-related performance as teens become adults. Bullying during teen years may affect those who become bully-targets in terms of relationships and bonding as well. The overarching conclusion is that bullying and health issues go hand in hand for teens. And health problems just surfacing during teen years may translate in severe health problems during adulthood.
The study aims to emphasize the need to implement prevention and intervention strategies precisely when bullying is at its prime: during teen years. Both on the short term and on the long term, preventing bullying could help curb a wide swath of health problems directly linked to bullying.
During teenhood, identity forming is a sensitive matter. Teens depend on their peers to develop as healthy individuals and gain self-esteem. Being exposed to peer victimization has been linked in other studies with shifts in emotional and behavioral, as well as biological processes.
Throughout the study, the participants completed surveys assessing how often they were victims of peer victimization, or emotional bullying or physical bullying. Interviews were also conducted frequently. In addition, the physical symptoms were assessed in another set of questionnaires.
The results of the study showed that physical bullying occurred at least sometimes with 29 to 52 percent of the male teens participating in the study. 20 to 29 percent of the girls were victims of physical bullying.
Emotional bullying had been experienced at least sometimes by 28 to 67 percent of the male teens and 37 to 54 percent of the female teens. The same study found that 1 to 2 percent of all participants were victims of peer victimization daily.
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