A Youth Health report examines the details of a new Canadian study that shows being bullied as a teen is linked to health problems as an adult, including insomnia and headaches.
The study followed 662 young people for a decade starting when they were between 12 and 19 years old. It found that both physical and emotional bullying was linked with health issues such as headaches, dizziness, backaches, insomnia, abdominal pain, and poor body image. Even verbal taunting could lead to physical health problems in adulthood, the researchers reported.
Prevous studies have linked bullying by peers to eventual chronic physical health problems, the authors note. Bullying during adolescence can be particularly serious because teens tend to depend on peers for self-esteem.
In this study, researchers at the University of Victoria in British Columbia analyzed data from six interviews of teens that were done between 2003 and 2014. Participants were asked questions on how often they were pushed or shoved by peers and how often peers spread lies about them. Physical symptoms were assessed by asking the teens to rate how frequently they experienced problems such as headaches, dizziness, and insomnia. To monitor body image, they rated how regularly they noticed they were physically healthy or felt particularly proud or uncomfortable with their body’s development.