Peer bullying is a
serious problem among children, primarily because of its association with a
multitude of behavioral and emotional problems. Peer bullying and parental
maltreatment are universal problems. In England about 25 percent of children
are vulnerable to such victimization. National Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), UK, reports victimization rates globally to be up
to 32 percent. According to them, 'Children who bully others, children who are
victimised and children who both bully and are bullied, share a number of
common characteristics and all are likely to suffer negative long-term
consequences. Important factors appear to be family and peer relationships'.
During the past few
years, media has given attention on the suicides and self harm inflicted among
adolescents. These adolescents were mostly bullied. Earlier studies have shown
that bullying victimization may be associated with 'increased rates of self
harm', especially in mid- to late adolescence.
Helen Fisher et al
conducted a longitudinal cohort study that was published in the British Medical
Journal 2012, to analyze the influence of bullying victimization on the
probability of developing self harming tendency in early adolescence and to
recognize what type of bullied children were prone to self harm.
In this cohort study
about 1116 pairs of twins (2232 children) born in 1994-95 were taken into
belonged to England and Wales and were being frequently bullied. They were more
liable to self harm by the age of 12 years.
behavioral problems, family history of completed or attempted suicide, physical
maltreatment by adults, and child abuse or self-harm tendency in family are the
significant factors that aggravate the threat of self harm in bullied children,
according to the study results.
Helen L. Fisher, the
lead author and Ph.D from the the MRC Social, Genetic, and Developmental
Psychiatry Center at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London,
United Kingdom (UK), mentioned, "That bullying is linked to negative
outcomes for the victims will surprise very few people. But we were saddened to
find that children as young as 12.are
around three times more likely to hurt themselves than children who were not
Dr. Fisher observed
and imported point that the results were unchanged even when the risk factors
She highlighted that
the relationship between self harm and bullying existed even when one of the
twin were bullied while other was not. This clearly rules out the impact of
other factors such as family life and parents.
One of the expert
said, "They should also coach parents about getting involved in changing
school policies to protect children."
The experts were of
the opinion that further efforts are required to help children in coping with
the emotional trauma sustained from bullying. Family adversity increases this
stated, "This will require schools and health professionals who come into
contact with bullied children to assess these indicators of concern and also to
ascertain whether the help a child has is sufficient."
Bullying victimisation and risk of self harm
in early adolescence: longitudinal cohort study; Helen Fisher et al; BMJ