Prolonged Bullying Effects Can Add Up, Study Says

A U.S. study found the longer bullying persists, the more likely it is to affect children's mental and physical well-being.

Prolonged Bullying Effects Can Add Up, Study Says
Flickr / tyhatch

A new report says bullying can have devastating effects on children, and depending on the length of time they've been bullied, their health could be at stake even after it stops.

A study from the Boston Children's Hospital published Monday in the journal Pediatrics shows the longer bullying persists, the more likely it is to affect a child's mental and physical health.

Researchers studied the health of more than 4,200 children in the fifth through 10th grades using data collected three times throughout their schooling. (Via CBS)

CBS reports 22 percent of fifth graders said they were currently being bullied. The older the students, the lower that number — as few as 3 percent of 10th graders said they were being victimized.

Notably, the 10th graders who said they were still being bullied were the most likely to report negative feelings such as anger, fear and anxiety.

According to USA Today, students who were bullied both in the past and present exhibited poorer mental health than those who are only currently being bullied. Effects include increased depression, lower self-worth, even a decreased ability to perform physical tasks such as playing sports.

The researchers say the results point to a need for more bullying intervention. They say the sooner bullying is stopped, the less likely a child is to experience damaging effects. (Via ABC)

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' anti-bullying website, bullies themselves are also in danger, as they are more likely to abuse drugs or get into fights.

The website says most childhood bullying occurs in middle school, and bystander intervention has been shown to be most successful in stopping the victimization.