Children - especially girls - are more likely to have psychiatric problems later in life if they're bullied or victimised, a new Finnish study finds.
The study may be the first of its kind to examine what happens to bullied children of both genders years later.
Researchers at Turku University Hospital tried to find links between bullying and victimidation at age eight and later psychiatric problems between ages 13 and 24. The study examined more than 5 000 Finnish children who took part in a national survey.
What the study showed
The study found that about 6% of boys were frequent bullies and 6% were frequent victims; 3% fit into both categories.
Among girls, almost 4% were frequent victims, and less than 1% were frequent bullies or both.
"Frequent victim status at age eight years among females independently predicted psychiatric hospital treatment" and use of psychiatric drugs, the authors write. The relationship is more complex among boys.
"It is important to inform policymakers, school professionals and the public about the potential short-term and long-term consequences of bullying and victimisation," the researchers write in the Archives of General Psychiatry. - (HealthDay News, September 2009)
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