Bullying Has Long-Term Health Effects

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jonathan martin bullying

Last spring, Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin (pictured) wrote his mother a tormented message.

“I was sobbing in a rented yacht bathroom,” Martin wrote to his mother after he was bullied last spring, the Miami Herald reports.

“I’m never gonna change,” continued Martin, who took time off from the team as a result of bullying. “I got punked again today. Like a little b—-. And I never do anything about it,” the Herald reports. At one point, according to the story, Martin, who is Black, chalked up his acceptance of bullying “to white private school conditioning,” where he learned to turn “the other cheek.”

Unfortunately, Martin, who reportedly suffers from symptoms of depression, may be on to something. A new study shows that students who were the victims of bullying have worse mental and physical health, more symptoms of depression and lower self-worth and the symptoms appears to last into adulthood, NBC News reports, citing a new study.

The study, published in “Monday’s Pediatrics” shows that the impact of bullying can manifest into mental and physical health problems that grow over time, NBC News reports.

Researchers from the Division of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital followed 4,297 children in Los Angeles; Birmingham, Ala.; and Houston, Texas at three points: fifth, seventh, and 10th grades, the report says. Students were asked about bullying and they were asked to complete questionnaires that looked for symptoms of depression, low self-esteem and poor physical health.

Students who were bullied showed high levels of depressive symptoms, low self-worth and more problems with basic physical activity, the report says. The longer bullying occurred, the symptoms heightened over time. While 10th graders complained of problems, for example, kids who also experienced bullying in the fifth and seventh grades reported the worst symptoms. Nearly half of the students, who were bullied over long stretches of time, exhibited poor psychological health at a rate that was seven times higher than kids who were never bullied, the report says.

“We’re seeing that the effects of bullying get worse over time,” Dr. Laura Bogart, a social psychologist in the Division of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and lead author on the study, told NBC News. “This gives more evidence that it’s important to intervene early.”

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