Certain Types of Bullying More Harmful to Mental Health in Teenagers

A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE reveals that bullying is linked to mental health concerns in teenagers, with certain types of bullying causing more harm than others.

The research analyzed data from the 2018 Iowa Youth Survey, which collected responses from 70,451 students in 6th, 8th, and 11th grades.

The study found that physical and religion-based bullying did not significantly impact mental health, but bullying related to gender identity, sexual orientation, hurtful sexual-related bullying, social bullying, cyberbullying, and racial bullying was associated with increased mental distress and suicide attempts.

Bullying is a prevalent issue among teenagers in the United States, with 20% of young people aged 12 to 18 experiencing it.

The impact of bullying goes beyond the immediate harm caused, as those bullied are more likely to experience health complaints, lower academic achievement, and mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression.

The CDC’s 2011 to 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that more than 40% of high school students experience sadness and hopelessness that interferes with their daily activities.

The growing mental health crisis among youth makes it imperative to identify factors responsible for mental distress in young people.

Therefore, this study is essential in understanding which types of bullying have more severe consequences for teenagers’ mental health.

While anti-bullying campaigns are prevalent, they generally do not offer guidance on what type of content to include.

The authors of this study suggest that their findings could be used to develop campaigns that target the types of bullying most associated with mental distress.

The study authors recommend that anti-bullying campaigns target cyberbullying and identity-based bullying, specifically sexual identity or gender-based joking.

Physical and religion-based bullying, while seeming to have a lower priority, should not be ignored when designing anti-bullying campaigns.

The authors’ data suggest that policymakers should consider these findings when designing and implementing anti-bullying campaigns.

In conclusion, this study’s findings offer significant insights into the types of bullying that have the most severe consequences for teenagers’ mental health.

By targeting cyberbullying and identity-based bullying, policymakers and educators can create more effective anti-bullying campaigns that can help reduce the negative impact of bullying on young people’s mental health.

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