As bullying continues to rise amongst children of all ages, it is absolutely crucial to not only find out what implications being victimized have on a child, but also find possible ways to eliminate the negative outcomes they endure. Current research has already gathered an abundance of information surrounding the effects bullying has on its victims. One area of current focus on bullying and victimization is the health effects. Serious negative mental, emotional and physical health outcomes have been discovered. Now based on this information, researchers need to push forward and try to find ways to decrease the negative outcomes not simply look at what the effects of bullying are.
Multiple studies have found that bullying has consequences on the victims’ emotional and mental health. Children who fall victim to bullying display higher levels of depression, anxiety, and a higher likelihood of developing behavioural issues than children who are not victims of bullying (Yang, Kim, Kim, Shin, & Yoon, 2005). Children also report feeling isolated from others leading them to feel alone (Houbre, Tarquinio, Thuillier, & Hergott, 2006). These negative effects can have a lasting effect on a child’s development and follow them into adulthood.
Not only do victims of bullying showing severe emotional and mental health issues, but new research suggests that bullying may have a much bigger impact on a child’s health than we previously realized. Children who indicate that they are victimized show more negative physical health outcomes, along with the emotional and mental health issues. Results from recent research indicate that common symptoms children who are victimized report range from headaches, dizziness, and stomachaches to nausea, high blood pressure, and palpitations.
While becoming ill seems to be one of the repercussions of being bullied, recent research have uncovered more disturbing results. The findings in one study indicate that stress from being victimized can have profound effects on certain areas of the brain, specifically the HPA-axis which releases cortisol in stressful situations (Knack, Jensen-Campbell, & Baum, 2011b). Victimized children also show a greater level of sensitivity to stressful situations which leads them to a more reactive neuroendocrine system. This constant release of cortisol can have damaging effects on the child’s body. Another study conducted by Knack, Gomez, & Jensen-Campbell (2011a) found that the same areas of the brain that respond to actual physical pain also respond when someone feels hurt by social situations. Bullying is not only causing negative emotional, mental, and physical health outcomes, but is also showing that it can have a profound impact on a child’s brain.
Based on all of the detrimental effects bullying can have on individuals, it is enlightening to see results from research showing there are possible buffers against victimization. Specially, certain forms of supportive relationships and...