A study has found that children who are bullied are more likely to suffer more mental health problems than those who are abused. “We found somewhat surprisingly, that those who were bullied and maltreated were not at higher risk than those just bullied,” said senior study author Dieter Wolke, psychology professor at the University of Warwick to Reuters. According to researchers involved in the study from the United States and United Kingdom, children in the study who were bullied by their peers were more likely to suffer depression and anxiety later in life than children who were abused but were not bullied. “Being bullied has similar -- and in some cases worse -- long-term adverse effects on young adults’ mental health than being maltreated,” said the study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry. The study involved 1,420 children from the U.S. and 4,026 children from the U.K. Both studies followed the children’s mental health by conducting interviews from parents and children alike until at least by the time they turn 18 years old. Results from the U.S. data showed that those who were bullied but not abused were almost four times more likely to have mental health problems later in life than the children who were abused but not bullied. Children from the U.K. who experienced bullying similarly suffered more health problems in their adulthood than those who were abused. The likelihood for mental health problems, anxiety, depression or attempted self-harm was 1.6 times more. “Being socially excluded and being a social outcast is about the worst stress that we can experience, more than other pains,” Wolke said. Bullying leaves people with poor self-esteem and a distrust of people that they will carry on until adulthood, he added.
Sources: April 28, 2015. "Bullying May Leave Worse Mental Scars Than Child Abuse". livescience.com April 28, 2015. "Bullying does more long-term mental health harm than abuse, study says". latimes.com April 29, 2015. "Bullying may be even worse for mental health than child abuse – study". gmanetwork.com