Nordic research exposes sad bullying outcomes

May 23, 2019

Bullying has long been associated with an increased risk of chronic physical and mental health complaints, but past research has not yet clearly tied painkiller use to bullying. On a grim note, a new study shows that bullied Icelandic youth were more than seven times as likely to take painkillers to alleviate discomfort.

A team of researchers led by Pernilla Garmy of Kristianstad University, Sweden, examined data on some 10,600children and teens aged 11-15 years old who reported being bullied at least twice a month.The findings exhibited noticeable use of pain medication among both non-bullied and bullied students, but more significantly among bullied students even when controlling for pain, age, gender and socioeconomic status – headaches and stomach pain were the most common reason for using paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease pain. From this, about 46% and 31% of victims took painkillers for either headaches or stomach pains, while 30% and 14% of students who weren’t bullied did the same.

Garmy believes insecurity and depression -a characteristic feeling of bullied children and adolescents – may heighten physical pain and thus require the use of analgesics.

In addition, bullying could cause health problems and subsequent pain medication use or vice versa – youth with more health problems could face more bullying, according to Valerie Earnshaw, a human development researcher at US’s University of Delaware.

These should prompt parents to ask after their school-going kids daily, especially if the child exhibits psychosomatic health complaints related to bullying. Parents who have legitimate reasons to believe their child is being bullied should address the problem before the child grows into substance dependency.


Category: Education, Features

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