The emotional and psychological effects of bullying have always been clear – but now, a new study reveals that bullying also impacts a child’s physical development. WebMD reports that a study done by the Duke Institute found the traumatic effects of violence and bullying on children’s DNA has the same result typically associated with advancing age.
Researcher Idan Shavlev summarized the findings: "Children who experience extreme violence at a young age have a biological age that is much older than other children.” Though it is unknown if these effects are irreversible, this means bullied children could be on a faster track to an early onset of adult diseases. Shavlev and his team plan to monitor the children in the study for a longer time to see what happens.
In 2009, 20% of high school students nationwide were bullied and throughout the world, youth violence is the second cause of death among people between the ages 10 to 24, reports the CDC. Violence and bullying have always been an issue for the immediate impact, but the lasting consequences have serious health implications, as "we now have a physical record that violence during childhood could be damaging later in life," Shavlev said.
Do these results shock you? Has your child been bullied? What preventive actions do you take to keep your child away from aggressive behavior?