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Bullied children are more likely to suffer from mental health than those abused by adults, according to a new study.
Though previous research has linked physical, emotional and sexual abuse to difficulties later in life, this new study has noted that bullying can have long lasting psychological and physical effects as well. Specifically, researchers were curious to know whether mental health problems were due to maltreatment and bullying or if bullying had a unique effect on the psychological state of children.
"We found, somewhat surprisingly, that those who were bullied and maltreated were not at higher risk than those just bullied," Dieter Wolke, a psychology professor at the University of Warwick in the U.K., said.
The research was pulled from two large studies that tracked mental health in children and followed them through the age of 18. One study included 1,200 participants from the U.S. and another included 4,000 participants from the U.K. Both studies drew information via interviews with parents to track abuse.
As young adults, 1 in 5 participants in both countries had mental health issues like depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. After considering family issues that would encourage depression, the researchers found an increased risk of depression for children in the U.S. instead of the U.K.
Researchers noted that its possible abuse was underreported by parents. The study also didn’t take into consideration the age at which abuse did begin – that is, if it was reported. Still, the report emphasizes the need for clinicians and educators, as well as parents, to pay better attention to bullying.
"It is particularly novel that they found bullying is a greater source of mental health problems than maltreatment," Catherine Bradshaw, deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence in Baltimore, said.
Source: News Max
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