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Children's Health Council

Trauma from Childhood Bullying May Persist into College

bullying

September 12, 2016, News

New research finds that college students report the psychological impact of childhood bullying is on the same level as severe physical or sexual abuse.

The study of 480 college freshmen through seniors, indicated that the detrimental effects of bullying may linger for years. The emotional impact of the bullying can negatively affect a victims’ mental health well into young adulthood. 

While most of the investigation on bullying has focused on kindergarten through 12th-grade students, the struggles revealed by college students who participated in the research suggest a need to develop assessments and interventions for this population, according to the researchers.

Participants in the study were surveyed about their exposure to a variety of traumatic experiences — including bullying, cyberbullying, and crimes such as robbery, sexual assault, and domestic and community violence — from birth through age 17. The students who experienced bullying as children reported significantly greater levels of mental health problems than their peers.

Study findings appear online in the journal Social Psychology of Education. Read the full article here on the University of Illinois website.

The paper “Recollections of childhood bullying and multiple forms of victimization: correlates with psychological functioning among college students” is available online here.

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