Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Childhood bullying increases the propensity to self-harm during adolescence, study finds

Date:
May 28, 2013
Source:
University of Warwick
Summary:
A new study has shown that being bullied during childhood directly increases the likelihood of self-harm in late adolescence.

A new study has shown that being bullied during childhood directly increases the likelihood of self-harm in late adolescence.

The analysis, led by researchers from the University of Warwick in association with colleagues at the University of Bristol, highlights that being bullied at primary school age can cause enough distress to significantly increase the risk of self-harming in later adolescence.

Almost 5,000 participants in the Children of the 90s study were assessed for exposure to bullying between seven and ten years of age and later asked whether they had engaged in self-harm at sixteen to seventeen years.

Self-harm behaviours may stem from a desire to relieve tension or communicate stress, and in the most extreme cases may represent a suicidal intent in the individual.

The study found that 16.5% of 16-17 year olds had self-harmed in the previous year, and 26.9% of these did so because they felt as though they 'wanted to die'. Those who were subjected to chronic bullying over a number of years at primary school were nearly five times more likely to self-harm six to seven years later in adolescence.

Professor Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick explained, "It is further evidence for doing away with the myth that bullying at a young age can be viewed as a harmless rite of passage. I'd like to see clinicians routinely asking children about bullying -- from name calling to more physical acts of abuse. The importance of this early intervention should not be understated. If we were able to eliminate bullying, while other exposures remained constant, there would be a potential to prevent 20% of all self-harm cases."

Dealing with bullying at an early age can reduce suffering for the individual but also long term costs for society.

The research, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, took great lengths to control the study for previous exposure to an adverse family environment; such as domestic violence, parental style or existing childhood mental health problems.

With such controls in place, the outcomes of the study can be used to help identify clear links between being bullied at a young age and self-harm in teenage years; whether that be through an increased risk of depression or by exacerbating the effects of a harmful family environment.

The results also showed that girls were, overall, more likely to engage in self-harm and develop depression symptoms. This supports the common belief that girls are roughly twice as likely to experience problems of this nature, particularly where that means turning their distress inwards, that is, to self-harm.

Professor Wolke added, "Many children suffer in silence and never speak out about being bullied. While bullying also increases the risk of depression, many adolescents in our study self-harmed without being depressed -- so it is important that when children or adolescents show signs of self-harm or indications of non-specific symptoms (such as recurrent headaches, stomach aches, avoidance to go to school), we consider bullying as a possible cause and provide them with support."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Warwick. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Suzet Tanya Lereya, Catherine Winsper, Jon Heron, Glyn Lewis, David Gunnell, Helen L. Fisher, Dieter Wolke. Being Bullied During Childhood and the Prospective Pathways to Self-Harm in Late Adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2013; 52 (6): 608 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.03.012

Cite This Page:

University of Warwick. "Childhood bullying increases the propensity to self-harm during adolescence, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528092120.htm>.
University of Warwick. (2013, May 28). Childhood bullying increases the propensity to self-harm during adolescence, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528092120.htm
University of Warwick. "Childhood bullying increases the propensity to self-harm during adolescence, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528092120.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins