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A study of 963 high school aged children found a high incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among the bullied students. Symptoms were found in a third of the respondents to the survey.
“This is noteworthy, but nevertheless unsurprising,” says psychologist Thormod Idsoe from the University of Stavanger (UIS) and Bergen’s Center for Crisis Psychology. “Bullying is defined as long-term physical or mental violence by an individual or group. It is directed at a person who’s not able to defend themselves at the relevant time. We know that such experiences can leave a mark on the victim.”
For this study, two of the three markers for PTSD were examined. They looked at evidence of intrusive memories and avoidance behavior among students. “Traumatic experiences or strains imposed on us by others can often hurt more than accidents,” explained Idsoe. “That could be why so many pupils report such symptoms.”
These symptoms cause difficulty with focus and attention. They can prevent functioning normally in daily life. “Pupils who’re constantly plagued by thoughts about or images of painful experiences, and who use much energy to suppress them, will clearly he less capacity to concentrate on schoolwork. Nor is this usually easy to observe – they often suffer in silence.”
Girls are also more vulnerable. “That accords with studies of other types of strain. We also found that those with the worst symptoms were a small group of pupils who, in addition to being victims of bullying, frequently bullied fellow pupils themselves.”
Source: MedicalNewsToday, University of Stavanger
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