Effects of Bullying Statistics: the Link Between Child Bullying and Eating Disorders

Effects of Bullying Statistics: the Link Between Child Bullying and Eating Disorders

by Anne Redmond

Effects of Bullying statisticsThe Effects of Bullying Statistics: the Link Between Child Bullying and Eating Disorders on children who are victims of bullying have been shown to be long term. Their parents often worry first about the present effect that child bullying is having on their child. Questions which race through parents’ minds include how to put an end to the bullying, whether or not they should change their child’s school, or how to minimize the pain their child is feeling. It is vital that parents be aware, however, that bullying has long-term effects that go way beyond a child feeling alone or ostracized.

The effects of bullying statistics in child bullying, one recent study carried out by researchers from Duke Medicine and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, showed that children involved in bullying – both bullies and victims – are at a greater risk for anxiety, depression and eating disorders. The bullying statistics study, carried out on 1,420 children, showed that those who bullied others were twice as likely to have symptoms of bulimia (including bingeing on foods then purging), as children who are not involved in bullying.

The lead author of the study on the Effects of Bullying Statistics, William Copeland, Ph.D., noted that for a long time, a myth has existed that bullies are always resilient and tough, since they are able to manipulate others or control situations. However, the results of the study show that bullying and body image, are linked. Copeland explains, “Maybe teasing others may sensitize them to their own body image issues, or afterward, they have regret for their actions that results in these symptoms like binge eating followed by purging or excess exercise.” Teasing others may also make one more sensitive to the likelihood of being teased oneself. Those who bully can therefore try to ensure that they remain within a specific body type, to avoid being a future victim.

The study divided child bullying into the following four categories: children who were not involved in bullying at all; children who bullied; children who were victims of bullying; and finally, children who were both bullies (occasionally) and victims (occasionally). The findings were as follows:

  1. Control group who were neither bullies nor bullied.
  2. Children who were solely bullies: These children had a very high rate of bulimia compared to those who were not involved in bullying (30.8 per cent compared to 17.6 per cent).

Effects of bullying statisticsThe results are worrisome since eating disorders can be difficult to battle and anorexia nervosa has such a high mortality rate. Anorexia is characterized by an excessive counting of calories. Sufferers starve themselves to dangerous points and generally lose a considerable amount of weight. Anorexia can seriously reduce one’s lifespan, and is considered to have the highest mortality rates of all mental diseases. Without treatment, up to 20 per cent of all people with eating disorders, die. Sufferers of bulimia can be harder to spot because these individuals do not always lose inordinate amount of weight. Rather, they binge and purge, and parents are often unaware of what is happening to their child.

      3. Children who were both bullies and victims: These children had the highest risk of anorexia and binge eating (22.8 per cent showed symptoms of anorexia, compared to 5.6 per cent of children not involved in bullying; 4.8 per cent of children in this group took part in binge eating, compared to under one per cent of children not involved in bullying).

      4. Children who were victims of child bullying: These children were twice as likely to have symptoms of anorexia nervosa (11.2 per cent compared to 5.6 per cent) and bulimia (27.9 per cent compared to 17.6 per cent) as children who had neither been bullies nor victims.

Copeland and his team are currently conducting effects of bullying statistics research to understand the nature of resilience post-bullying. It is important, they noted, to identify the children who are most vulnerable to the long-term consequences of bullying. In addition to eating disorders, these consequences include a higher likelihood of heart disease and depression. Those who have been the victims of child bullying can also struggle with issues such as trust, and struggle against low self-esteem. It is vital for all young victims of bullying to obtain professional help, so they can rebuild their self-confidence and resilience as soon as possible.

Further reading:

Newswise . com Study – Surprising Links Between Bullying and Eating Disorders

Aeets . org The Long Term Effects of Bullying

TheGrassGetsGreener . com 4 Long Term Effects of Bullying

NewsAces . com The Long Term Effects of Bullying

ACES Report Video: Original Researcher Dr Vincent Felitti

ReBuildingYou . com Definition of Bulling, stories and support