Bullying hurts teens more than ill-treatment

Bullying hurts teens more than ill-treatment
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Bullying Hurts Teens More Than Ill Treatment. Being bullied in childhood affects a teenager\'s mental health more than being maltreated, claims a new study.

London: Being bullied in childhood affects a teenager's mental health more than being maltreated, claims a new study.

According to the findings by the University of Warwick, UK, individuals who are bullied in childhood are around 5 times more likely to experience anxiety (odds ratio 4.9) and are nearly twice as likely to report more depression and self-harm at age 18 (odds ratio 1.7) than children who are maltreated.

The study, led by Professor Dieter Wolke, is the first of its kind to directly compare the effects of maltreatment (by adults) and peer bullying in childhood on mental health outcomes (ie, anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicidal tendencies) in young adulthood.

The findings come from the UK Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and the Great Smoky Mountain Studies in the USA (GSMS). The current study includes 4026 children from ALSPAC whose parents provided information on maltreatment between the ages of 8 weeks and 8.6 years, and their child's reports of bullying when they were aged 8, 10, and 13; and 1420 children from GSMS who reported information on maltreatment and bullying between the ages of 9 and 16.

Professor Wolke said that until now, governments had focused their efforts and resources on family maltreatment rather than bullying. Since 1 in 3 children worldwide report being bullied, and it is clear that bullied children have similar or worse mental health problems later in life to those who are maltreated, more needs to be done to address this imbalance.

The study is published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

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