Bullying And The Brains
For many children and teens bullying can cause problems in later life, including long-term impacts on mental health. But despite the knowledge of its dangers, the biological relationships between bullying and issues in later life such as depression and anxiety are largely unknown.
According to the authors of the study, their research is the first to suggest that bullying during adolescence can cause social and mental health issues by altering the shape of the brain.
The team discovered that isolated regions in the brains of the severely bullied participants had shrunk significantly. The sections of the brain involved, contribute to behavioral processes including reward sensitivity, attention span, and emotional processing.
A degradation to these areas occurring at such a vital formative period in a young person's life, during which their brains physically grow and mature, could explain the heightened levels of anxiety experienced by 19-year-olds who had been heavily bullied.