TEEN HEALTH Published April28, 2015 By Milafel Hope Dacanay

Effects of Bullying Can Be Far Worse than Child Abuse, Study Says

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Just how serious bullying can be? A new study cites that its long-term effects on mental health are far worse than those caused by child abuse.

In a study conducted by a group of researchers from England, it's been discovered that bullied children in the country have more than 60% increased risk of suffering from mental anguish including depression and thoughts of suicide. In the United States, bullied kids have at least 4 times the chance of bad mental health once they become adults compared to children their age who didn't experience bullying.

The study is actually composed of two long-term researches. In England, it's called Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, and about 4,000 children were considered as respondents. Meanwhile, over 1,200 kids were included in North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains Study.

Among these subjects, 30% of children in England and 16% in North Carolina were bullied. Meanwhile, 8% and 15% were victims of child abuse in England and United States, respectively. Lastly, 10% of Americans and 7% of English children had undergone both child abuse and bullying.

Upon analyzing both studies after certain factors such as gender and socioeconomic status were considered, the researchers found that American children who experienced child abuse are more likely to suffer from mental health problems. However, whether in England or United States, bullied children are likely to be diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and other types of mental disorders.

The researchers then conclude that it's definitely possible that the harmful effects of bullying in the long term can be much worse than maltreatment. It's therefore important for the government to take bullying more seriously.

They concurred that so far the government has been working hard in curbing maltreatment in the home, but less attention has been given to bullying, especially among peers.

The entire study can now be read in Lancet Psychiatry

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