New research has suggested that children who are bullied by their peers are at greater risk of mental health problems in later life than those who are maltreated by adults.
The worrying findings revealed that children who were bullied were five times more likely to experience anxiety and twice as likely to talk of suffering from depression and self-harm compared to those who were maltreated at home.
Professor Dieter Wolke, who led the study said that up until now, maltreatment (any physical or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s heath, survival, development or dignity) has been the main focus of concern with regard to children’s later mental health.
The results of the survey has led Professor Wolke to urge that bullying is taken more seriously once and for all.
“Until now, governments have focused their efforts and resources on family maltreatment rather than bullying. Since one in three children worldwide report being bullied and it’s clear that bullied children have similar or worse mental health problems later in life to those who are maltreated, more needs to be done to address the imbalance. Moreover, it’s vital that schools, health services and other agencies work together to tackle bullying.”
Dr Jennifer Wild, Associate Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford said that although the research didn’t investigate why bullying causes mental health problems, it’s important to highlight the devastating consequences of bullying and the need for zero tolerance programmes.
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