BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Global Health and Bullying (Youth Violence)



Youth violence and other ferocious behaviors such as weapon carrying and fighting, have been associated with early school bullying (Kim et al., (2006). Bullying and being bullied are public health problems and also major risk factors for the later development of psychopathologic behaviors (Kim et. Al, (2006). Through an observation of prospective design, use of large samples and precise analytic approaches, (Kim et al., (2006) showed that many youths are involved in bullying and that there are inherent health  and social problems that result from both being a bully and being bullied.

Prevalent at between 9% and 54%, bullying is a global endemic that requires urgent efforts towards prevention and intervention. In a study involving 1,639 children, (Wolke et al (2001) examined the association of two kinds of bullying, direct (hitting) and relational (cruel manipulation of peer relationships), with common health problems. His findings showed that approximately 4% of the children studied were found to be direct bullies while 10.2%  were relational bullies. He also found that 39.8% of these children were victims and had been bullied. Both bullies and their victims were most likely to have physical health symptoms such as sore throats, colds, and coughs. High psychosomatic health problems including poor appetite and fear of going to school were mostly observed in bullied victims (Wolke et al (2001).

The association between victimization from bullying and adverse effects on physical and psychological health is well documented in literature. However, it remains unclear whether it is the victimization that precedes the health-related symptoms or vice versa. A six-month cohort study with baseline follow-up measurements of 18 elementary schools in the Netherlands showed that victims of bullying were significantly more likely to develop new psychosomatic and psychosocial problems compared to children who were not bullied. On the other hand, some children with existing psychosocial disorders such as depression and anxiety were more likely to experience bullying and victimization. The study involving 1,118 children aged 9 to 11 years, measured a wide variety of psychosocial and psychosomatic symptoms, including depression, anxiety, bedwetting, headaches, insomnia, anorexia and feelings of pressure or fatigue (Fekkes, Minne, et al, (2006).

Because bullying and victimization can result in a variety of health problems and adversely affect  children’s attempts to cope with pre-existing health conditions, it is imperative to educate and empower children with resistant and coping skills. To ensure more children neither become bullies nor bullied, they should be taught these skills at every level in the society including family, school, church and the community at large.


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