Bullying May Affect Brain Structure – Research Suggests

Bullying May Affect Brain Structure – Research Suggests

Today’s generation is much more progressive in comparison with the previous one. Not only has it overcome the widespread social problems but is far more innovative and creative. Health-wise there are also more health facilities available now.

Hence, awareness about health and the trend of staying in shape no matter what age you are is a prevalent trend. However, some of the things remain unchanged and are still a big issue. This includes mental health problems.

Statistically, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and far more common now. Even though there are sufficient health facilities, the number of suicides has dramatically increased. But in many parts of the world, mental health still remains a taboo.

What has caused the outbreak of mental health issues? There is not a single factor that can be pointed out. A number of socio-economic problems are to be blamed. But the one in adolescents and teenagers is the same that used to be in the past generations.

Bullying has existed since forever. It gets particularly bad during high school and starts of the teenage years. Not only can this shatter a person’s confidence but possibly scar them for life. The anxiety, depression and other mental health issues resulting from bullying can be life-long.

According to the statistics by the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice, every one in three students in the United States report being bullied at school. Hence, it is still a big issue today.

Several studies show the negative effects of bullying. A recent study also shows how bullying on a regular basis leads to alterations in the brain.

How Does Bullying Affect Health?

Previous research has shown numerous after-effects of the bullying on the health of the individual. his/her social life, academic achievements, work, and family life. Many conclude that prevention of bullying can stop life-long mental issues and help with better lives in general in the future.

The new study, that appears in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, now shows that is can also cause physical changes in the brain.

Read the study here. 

The study was led by a team of researchers led by Erin Burke Quinlan, of King’s College London in the United Kingdom. The began by looking at the data of over 600 adolescents from different European countries.

The data came from a long-term project known as IMAGEN. The main objective of this project is to observe the mental development of participants via different methods. These include brain scans and questionnaires. The participants were between the ages of 14-19.

Over 30% of these young participants had experienced chronic bullying. The researchers continued their observation and did a comparison of such victims with the non-victims.

What Were the Results?

According to the team, the victims of bullying had raised levels of anxiety compared to those who had not been bullied. Additionally, a connection between bullying and changes in the volume of the brain was also noted.

Many studies had concluded that bullying increases the chances of mental health problems but none of them had previously seen physical changes in the brain. This study shows the caudate and putamen areas of the brain may also decrease in volume as a result of bullying.

Both of these parts are important for many functions such as learning, memory, and mobility. Consequently, bullying may lead to many negative effects on the body.

Therefore, bullying should be taken more seriously. Mental health problems have already become a global problem. To fight the ongoing anxiety and depression crisis, it is important to address the root causes including all forms of bullying.


Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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