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Childhood Bullying Linked To Adult Mental Health Issues

Dorathy Gass

A new study has revealed, that there is a link to psychiatric issues in young adults, from bullying that was suffered during childhood. A Finland research team discovered that whether the individuals were bullied or the bully, they found a connection to an increased risk of psychiatric issues that needed treatment by the time they hit young adulthood.

Dr. Andre Sourander, University of Turku and his team collected data in 1989 from over 5,000 children who were eight years old. Participants answered questions about bullying, and the kids’ teachers and parents also got involved, stating whether or not the youngsters were bullies, or being bullied themselves.

The results revealed that approximately 90 percent of kids had not been bullied or bullies; five percent were bullied, 3 percent were bullies, and 2 percent suffered from being both bullied and bullies.

The team then reviewed statistics from a national health database, regarding those same youngsters, but this time they reviewed information about them during their young adult years (16 to 29 years old). The researchers were looking specifically for service or treatment regarding mental health disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, substance abuse, or anxiety.

Approximately 12 percent of those young adults who had not been bullied or bullies as children sought out services or treatment for mental health disorders. Approximately 23 percent of those bullied did seek services or treatment for mental health disorders, as well as 20 percent of those who were bullies, and 31 percent of those who acted as bullies and were bullied as well.

When looking at the results, and comparing those participants who had not been bullied or bullies during their childhood years, the risk of psychiatric treatment in early adult hood was a 1.9 times greater risk. From those that were both bullied and bullies, the risk was 2.1 times greater than those who had no experience with bullying at all.

The team notes that most of the bullies were boys, with pre-existing symptoms of psychiatric issues. They also note that simply being a bully was connected to specific mental health issues, if there were symptoms that arose during the childhood years.

In fact, the team writes within the study, that being a bully acts as a vital red flag that the youngster may require some kind of intervention to avoid and improve effects later on in life.

Researchers also note that the study cannot explain how childhood bullying (whether the kid is bullied or they are the bullies) would lead to mental health disorders later in life, when it came to those youngsters who participated in the study.

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