Bullying alters brain structure, raises risk of mental health problems

New research is suggesting that there may be physical structural differences in the brains of adolescents who are regularly bullied.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, between one and three students in the United States report being bullied at school.

In recent years, cyberbullying has become a widespread problem.

Cyberbullying is any bullying performed via cell phones, social media, or the Internet in general.

Full story at Medical News Today

Bullying’s lasting impact

A new study led by the University of Delaware found that kids who are bullied in fifth grade often suffer from depression and begin using alcohol and other substances a few years after the incidents.

“Students who experienced more frequent peer victimization in fifth grade were more likely to have greater symptoms of depression in seventh grade, and a greater likelihood of using alcohol, marijuana or tobacco in tenth grade,” said the study’s leader, Valerie Earnshaw, a social psychologist and assistant professor in UD’s College of Education and Human Development.

The study involved researchers from universities and hospitals in six states, who analyzed data collected between 2004 and 2011 from 4,297 students on their journey from fifth through tenth grade. The findings were published online in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Full story of bullying’s lasting impact at Science Daily

Research on Substance Abuse and Bullying Yields Some Surprising Findings

Researchers looking at the relationship between bullying and substance use in teens are coming up with some surprising findings. This is especially true in the area of bullying victimization and substance use, according to Amanda Nickerson, PhD, Professor and Director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention, Graduate School of Education at the University of Buffalo in New York.

“A fair amount of research has found higher rates of substance use among bullying perpetrators,” says Dr. Nickerson, who spoke about bullying and substance use at the recent National Prevention Network annual research conference. “Substance use may be one part of a cluster of problem behaviors, as well as aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors, among bullying perpetrators.”

Full story on substance abuse and bullying at drugfree.org

Let’s talk about more than sex: Parents in favor of expanding health education

Teaching kids about drugs, alcohol and sex appears to be less controversial than ever before with the majority of parents in a new poll saying schools should and do teach these subjects.

Many parents want more — saying those topics are not enough — finds the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. Researchers surveyed a nationally representative sample of parents with kids in middle or high school.

Two-thirds of parents polled say schools should definitely cover emotional and mental health issues — which may include such subjects as dealing with depression, stress and bullying — yet only a third say these topics are currently covered by their child’s school.

Full story of expansion of sex education at Science Daily

Study Links Taking ADHD Medication with Being Bullied at School

A new study finds children who take stimulants to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to be bullied at school than their peers who do not have attention disorders. Those who have ever shared their prescriptions are at highest risk of bullying, Time reports.

Children who had shared their medication or had it taken from them in the previous year were four-and-a-half times more likely to be frequently bullied. The findings come from a survey of almost 5,000 children in five public schools.

“We know that among adolescents in the U.S., prescription stimulants are some of the most misused and shared diverted and drugs,” said lead researcher Quyen Epstein-Ngo of the University of Michigan. “We also know that bullying is a real issue. There was some research that suggested that kids were having their medication stolen or were being coerced into giving it away.”

Full story of ADHD medication and bullying in school at drugfree.org