Anxiety caused by childhood bullying declines over time

Anxiety caused by childhood bullying declines over time

Do you suffer from anxiety and depression as a result of being bullied as a child? Take heart, these mental health disorders may not continue but decrease over time, suggests a study.

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Study:

  • The study found that the detrimental effects of bullying decreased over time.
  • In addition,which shows the potential for resilience in children exposed to bullying.
  • While our findings show that being bullied leads to detrimental mental health outcomes.
  • They also offer a message of hope by highlighting the potential for resilience,said Researcher.
  • "Bullying certainly causes suffering, but the impact on mental health decreases over time, so children are able to recover in the medium term."

Experiments:

  • The study involved 11,108 participants.
  • By surveying twins, researchers were able to look at the associations.
  • Between bullying and mental health outcomes and then account for the confounding effects of their genes.
  • Both children and their parents filled out a questionnaire.
  • At age 11 and 14 they were asked about peer victimisation and at 11 and 16 they were asked about mental health difficulties.
  • The effect sizes were stronger before controlling for shared environmental factors and genetics.
  • Confirming that bullying itself is only partly to blame for the poor mental health outcomes experienced by bullied children.

Findings:

  • The researchers found that once confounding factors were removed.
  • There remained a causal contribution of exposure to bullying to concurrent anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and impulsivity, inattention and conduct problems.
  • Two years later, the impact on anxiety persisted.
  • Five years later, there was no longer an effect on any of those outcomes.
  • But 16-year-olds who had been bullied at age 11 remained more likely to have paranoid thoughts or cognitive disorganisation.

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