Lasting Effects of Bullying

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Story Updated: Feb 18, 2014

Being bullied in elementary school and high school can have a long-term negative impact on health, experts warn. New research in support of this published in the journal Pediatrics is based on an analysis involving nearly 4,300 children.

Starting in 2004, 5th graders were asked to describe any bullying they had experienced at the hands of their classmates. The same kids were surveyed again in both the 7th and 10th grades. More than 30% reported having been frequently bullied during at least one survey. And investigators found that, regardless of age, being bullied was associated with having a worse quality of life, both physically and psychologically.

Children who experienced repeated bullying both in the past and the present were the most vulnerable. They fared the worst in terms of overall health, and carried the highest risk for having feelings of low self-worth and depression. Children whose bullying was exclusively in the past seemed to be healthier than those whose bullying was a current event, the study team noted.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those who had no history of bullying whatsoever were found to be the healthiest of the bunch supporting early intervention to prevent bullying altogether.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news that can help keep your family healthy.

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