Philadelphia, PA, June 19, 2013 Recent studies linking bullying and depression, coupled with extensive media coverage of bullying-related suicide among young people, led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assemble an expert panel to focus on these issues. This panel synthesized the latest research about the complex relationship between youth involvement in bullying and suicide-related behaviors. Three themes emerged: 1) Bullying among youth is a significant public health problem, with widespread and often harmful results; 2) There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors; and 3) Public health strategies can be applied to prevent bullying and suicide.
A special supplement of the Journal of Adolescent Health presents the panel's findings, introduced by an insightful editorial by Marci Feldman Hertz, MS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, and Ingrid Donato and James Wright, MS, LCPC, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, Maryland.
Between 20 and 56 percent of young people are involved in bullying annually, as either a victim or perpetrator, or both. While bullying situations vary by type, age, and duration, middle school-aged children are more likely to be involved in bullying than those in high school. Verbal bullying occurs more frequently than physical or cyber-bullying and is more likely to happen over a longer time period. Further, lesbian and gay youth are more likely to be victimized than heterosexuals.
Poor mental and physical health among the victims and perpetrators of bullying, and those who experience both victimization and perpetration, investigators say, contribute to the problem. Further, involvement in bullying can have long-lasting, harmful effects, such as depression, anxiety, abdominal pain, and tension, months or even years later, as reported by two studies in this s
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Elsevier Health Sciences