-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Children who are bullied
are three times more likely than others to self-harm by the time
they are 12 years old, according to a new study.
A team of researchers from the United States and the United
Kingdom said its findings, published online April 27 in the
BMJ, could help identify those at greatest risk for this type of behavior.
Examples of self-harming behaviors included cutting and biting
arms, pulling out clumps of hair, head-banging and attempted
suicide by strangulation, the study said.
The researchers examined sets of twins born between 1994 and
1995 in England and Wales. Six months before their 12th birthday,
the twins' risk for self-harm was assessed. This information was
available for 2,141 participants.
The investigators found that 237 of the children were the
victims of bullies. Of these kids, 8 percent engaged in self-harm.
In contrast, of the 1,904 children who had not been bullied, only 2
percent had self-harmed.
Among the bullied children, the study authors pointed out
several factors that further increased their risk for self-harm,
The researchers also noted in a journal news release that girls
were more likely to self-harm than boys.
Lead study author Helen Fisher, of the Institute of Psychiatry
at King's College London, and colleagues concluded that schools and
health care professionals should intervene and protect bullied
children by working to "reduce bullying and introduce self-harm
risk-reduction programs." They added that systems should be in
place to help children cope with the emotional distress of
The Nemours Foundation has more about
"cutting" among teens.
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