Study: Bullying in Childhood Can Increase Mental Health Issues 3.5x

Study: Bullying in Childhood Can Increase Mental Health Issues 3.5x


The Journal Nature Mental Health featured a study examining the link between peer bullying and mental health issues. Researchers at UCLA (University of California-Los Angeles), US and the University of Glasgow, UK used data from 10,000 children in the UK to find that children experiencing bullying are prone to exhibit distrust. This makes them 3.5 times more likely to experience clinically significant issues in mental health by the age of 17. According to the study, those children who were bullied at 11 years of age and showed signs of interpersonal distrust by age 14, were 3.5 times more vulnerable to experiencing clinically significant mental health problems by the age of 17.

The Director of UCLA Health’s Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research, Dr George Slavich, says that these findings equip educational institutions with evidence to develop interventions backed by research, which can prepare them to counter the negative impacts of bullying on mental health. Slavich expressed his views by saying “There are few public health topics more important than youth mental health right now.” He added that “we need to invest in research that identifies risk factors for poor health” intending to help teenagers reach their full potential.

Slavich further mentioned that such research can be used to form prevention programs, to improve health and resilience throughout one’s life. Dr. George Slavich further addressed the criticality of leaving mental health problems unaddressed, as it increases the risk of mental and physical health problems across one’s lifetime. Due to the truth of the matter, the results of this study are predicted to be useful.

There has been prior research that associated mental health with bullying. These studies have also looked at the particular impacts of bullying on substance abuse, depression, and suicidal thoughts, along with a few more disorders. However, the study in question is the first of its kind since the research has looked at a set of youth over time, and could confirm a link between bullying and the development of mental health problems in late adolescence.

Read More: Being Kind Matters: Stopping Bullying and Ragging

The study examined factors such as diet and sleep, which could also link bullying and mental health issues. However, only interpersonal distrust was found to relate to the two at the age of 17. Slavich looked at the data and suggested instilling school-based programs to foster interpersonal trust in a classroom setting. He proposed the development of evidence-based programs focusing on the transition to high school and college as one possible solution. He identified this as creating an “opportunity to develop close, long-lasting relationships.

Leave feedback about this

  • Rating