Friday, September 11, 2009
Girls Suffer Worse Effects From Bullies
We all know that there can be long term mental health consequences for kids who are victims of bullies. A new study reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed that girls who are bullied in grade school suffer more psychiatric disturbance than boys. This is the first study that examined late adolescence or adult outcomes of childhood bullying in both boys and girls, and it found the long term effects of bullying were worse in the girls.
The researchers defined bullying as "an aggressive act embodying an imbalance of power in which the victims cannot defend themselves accompanied by an element of repetition." They found that more boys were bullies themselves, and more boys than girls were bullied. Very few girls were frequent bullies or bully-victims.
Despite the fact that girls were less bullied in early grade school, they were the ones who often had severe after effects. Frequent victim girls used more psychiatric medication, antipsychotics, antidepressants or anxiolytics in later life.
Childhood bullying is not "part of growing up". It is interpersonal violence and the negative effects do not disappear with time. Enlightened educators have a "no bully" policy and these acts are nipped in the bud. It is never OK to allow bullying, and both the perpetrator and the victim can suffer later consequences in life.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 8:08 AM