A recent study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics suggests that, between one and three students in the United States report being bullied in some form at school.
Because of technological advancements cyberbullying has become a widespread problem, reaching young kids faster than ever before. Cyberbullying is any form of bullying that is done through cell phones, social media, or the internet in general.
These devices allow bullies to continue their ways behind closed doors at any time of the day. These cases can go unseen and unreported for months and even years until it is too late.
Recent studies prove that bullying in any form has serious and physical effects on mental and emotional health. One research project shows that the impact of childhood bullying is having a significant impact on health and can lead to severe cost for individuals and families.
The United States mental health experts indicate that the prevention of high school bullying could result in lifetime benefits of over $1 million per person, depending on the case. Another study analyzes the effects of bullying on children, and if these effects are long-lasting.
Despite old research, the new study suggests that bullying may cause physical changes in kids’ brain and increase the chance of mental illness. The study also highlights the underlying triggers that could ignite dormmate conditions. The study is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
King’s College London in the United Kingdom, Erin Burke Quinlan and partners conducted a recent study and studied questionnaires and brain scans of around 600 young people from multiple European countries.
The reports state the participants were part of the IMAGEN long-term project. The primary objective of the study was to analyze young brain development and mental health of young adults through questionnaires and high-resolution brain scans, taken when the subjects were between the ages of 14 and 19.
Scientist discovered that more than 30 of the participants had experienced chronic bullying. Next, they compared the evidence with those of children who had not been victims of persistent bullying.
The research concluded that severe bullying was linked directly to the changes in brain volume and levels of anxiety at age 19. This study confirms the previous results that linked harassment with mental health conditions. However, it also revealed something brand new.
It also shows that bullying can lower the volume of parts of the brain called the caudate and putamen. The part of the brain referred to as the “caudate” plays a vital role in how the brain learns, more so how it processes memories. The scientist explains how this part of the brain uses information from past experiences to influence future actions and decisions and how the Putamen monitors movements and affects learning.
The primary authors claim that the physical changes in the brain of adolescents who were bullied continuously could explain the relationships between peer victimization and high anxiety levels at age 19.
According to Erin Burke Quinlan, “Although not classically considered relevant to anxiety, the importance of structural changes in the putamen and caudate to the development of anxiety most likely lies in their contribution to related behaviors such as reward sensitivity, motivation, conditioning, attention, and emotional processing.”
Quinlan argues that this study brings forth many concerns being as that around 30 percent of young people could be bullied on a daily basis. She also discusses the importance of brain development during adolescence and the fragile aspects of growing up.
She believes this study will bring forth more efforts to combat bullying, as the increase in peer victimization is becoming a global problem. She hopes the findings will highlight the chances if physical changes in the brain, widespread anxiety and high cost for society and health care due to bullying.
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