Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Childhood bullying and mental health

Bullying in school is a major problem for children, teachers and parents. Boys tend to bully more than girls who are more likely to use 'relational aggression'. Both bullying and victimisation are associated with poorer family functioning, interparental violence and child abuse and previous studies have shown that children who are both bullies and victims are the most troubled in terms of outcomes. Researchers from Turku University in Finland studied 5,038 children born in 1981. They asked them, and their teachers and parents, about bullying when they were eight and looked at the participants' psychiatric-hospital treatment and use of drugs until they were 24. The study found that girls who were frequent victims of bullying at eight were more likely to have been treated in a psychiatric hospital and to have taken antipsychotic, antidepressant or anti-anxiety drugs by the time they were 24. Among the male participants frequent bully/victim and bully-only statuses predicted the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Frequent bully/victim status among male participants also predicted psychiatric-hospital treatment and use of antipsychotics. However, among the male participants there was no link between bullying and subsequent mental-health problems once the children's mental-health problems at the age of eight had been taken into account.

Sourander, Andre ... [et al] - Childhood bullying behavior and later psychiatric hospital and psychopharmacologic treatment Archives of General Psychiatry September 2009, 66(9), 1005-1012

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