DURHAM: Bullying impact lasts beyond childhood, Duke study shows - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Impact of bullying lasts beyond childhood, Duke study shows

Posted: Updated:
DURHAM, N.C. -

A new study by Duke Medicine says victims of childhood bullying suffer long-term health consequences while bullies may actually reap health benefits related to raising their social status.

“Our findings look at the biological consequences of bullying, and by studying a marker of inflammation, provide a potential mechanism for how this social interaction can affect later health functioning,” said William E. Copeland, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine and the study’s lead author.

Earlier studies have suggested that adults who were bullied as children suffered social and emotional consequences, including increases in anxiety and depression.

The new study says victims of bullying can experience “chronic, system inflammation,” even as adults.

“Among victims of bullying, there seems to be some impact on health status in adulthood,” Copeland said in a news release. “In this study, we asked whether childhood bullying can get ‘under the skin’ to affect physical health.”

Copeland and his colleagues used data from the Great Smoky Mountains Study, a robust, population-based study that gathered information on 1,420 individuals for more than 20 years.

Participants were interviewed throughout childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, and among other topics, were asked about their experiences with bullying. Researchers collected small blood samples to look at biological factors. Using the blood samples, the researchers measured C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker and a risk factor for health problems including metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

“CRP levels are affected by a variety of stressors, including poor nutrition, lack of sleep and infection, but we’ve found that they are also related to psychosocial factors,” Copeland said in a written release.

While bullying is more common and perceived as less harmful than childhood abuse or maltreatment, the findings suggest that bullying can disrupt levels of inflammation into adulthood, similar to what is seen in other forms of childhood trauma.

“Our study found that a child’s role in bullying can serve as either a risk or a protective factor for low-grade inflammation,” Copeland said. “Enhanced social status seems to have a biological advantage. However, there are ways children can experience social success aside from bullying others.”

The researchers concluded that reducing bullying, as well as reducing inflammation among victims of bullying, could be key targets for promoting physical and emotional health and lessening the risk for diseases associated with inflammation.

The study was done in collaboration with researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Warwick and Emory University.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.


  • LOCALLOCALMore>>

  • Shelby bikers head to Coast on safety ride

    Shelby bikers head to Coast on safety ride

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:05:08 GMT
    Soldiers from a training unit at Camp Shelby Friday celebrated the conclusion of an advanced motorcycle safety course by taking a ride to the Gulf Coast. The trip from Hattiesburg Cycles to Biloxi andMore >>
    Soldiers from a training unit at Camp Shelby Friday celebrated the conclusion of an advanced motorcycle safety course by taking a ride to the Gulf Coast.

    More >>
  • Historical canoe discovered in Lawrence County

    Historical canoe discovered in Lawrence County

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:53:43 GMT
    A piece of Mississippi history, under water for more than 100 years, surfaced in the Pearl River in Monticello last weekend. Now it's at Turcotte Lab in Madison County. "This is a 14-foot cypress logMore >>
    Last weekend, the Pearl River in Monticello receded just enough to reveal a wooden canoe that dates back more than 100 years. Here's a closer look at this fascinating Mississippi artifact.More >>
  • Statistics show Laurel crime down first half of 2014

    Statistics show Laurel crime down first half of 2014

    Friday, August 29 2014 3:11 AM EDT2014-08-29 07:11:46 GMT
    The Laurel Police Department has released its UCR statistics for the first six months of 2014. According to their Uniform Crime Reporting statistics, from January through June the department has had 689More >>
    The Laurel Police Department has released its UCR statistics for the first six months of 2014. The report shows the city is down 8.4% in crime compared to last year. More >>