Children who are bullied, by friends or siblings, are more likely to contemplate suicide in early adulthood. According to the American Psychological Association, “bullying is defined as a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort.” It can take on many forms, from physical contact to verbal abuse or indirect actions.

The Study

The most common form of violence experienced during childhood is bullying. These acts most often come from siblings and friends or peers. According to a study by the University of Warwick, there is abundant evidence that children reporting sibling bullying are at an increased risk of peer bullying as well. The research utilized 3,881 children of the age of 12 to assess sibling and peer bullying through self-reporting, with about one-third of them reporting sibling bullying. Twelve years later, the study utilized self-administered computer interviews to determine the now 24-year-old adult’s levels of depression, self-harm, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

The Conclusions

The research discovered that victims of sibling bullying reported increased depression, suicidal ideation, as well as suicidal self-harm. Furthermore, children bullied by siblings had more mental health issues as adults. Victims of both sibling and peer bullying reported the highest increases in developing self-harm (16.1%), suicidal ideation (35.7%), and clinical depression (15.1%) in adulthood. These particular children had no safe place to escape the torment, as the bullying occurred at home and school. Consequently, bullying from peers increases the prevalence of psychological issues.

Intervention studies are necessary for controlling and decreasing the prevalence of sibling bullying, which may alleviate peer bullying as well. Mental illness is often born from childhood trauma, and bullying has a significant impact on psychological development. Depression and suicidal thoughts may lead to self-medication, which may lead to the development of addiction to drugs or alcohol. It is imperative to intervene and educate children before these critical periods of childhood development are disturbed by these occurrences.

Where to Go from Here?

Experiencing sibling and peer bullying doubles the odds of an individual later developing clinical depression and considering suicide. Therefore, the negative effects of bullying persist into adulthood and cause mental health issues for the victim. Education to help parents deal with these behaviors and to reduce bullying between siblings is crucial to battling this trend. As mental health becomes more of a priority, associations between negative life events and subsequent mental health issues and addictions are becoming more apparent. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are not alone, and there is a safe place for you to obtain long-lasting recovery. Call us today at 844.332.1807 or visit us online.


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