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Children who experience bullying are three times more likely to self harm than their classmates when they reach adolescence, according to a new study by the British Medical Journal.
The authors have called for more effective programmes in schools to tackle bullying, due to the damage it can inflict well into adult life.
"This finding is even more concerning given that studies have suggested that early patterns of self harm can persist through adolescence into adulthood and increase the risk of later psychological problems.
"Therefore, such maladaptive coping strategies need to be tackled in childhood and early adolescence before they become a persistent problem or lead to serious injury or death."
- Of 2,141 individuals, 237children were victims of frequent bullying and of that number, 18 (around 8%) self harmed.
- Of 1,904 children who were not bullied, 44 (2%) self harmed.
- The research found marginally more girls (52%) than boys resorted to wounding themselves.
- It also showed bullied children with a family member who had either attempted or committed suicide were more likely to self harm than others.
The authors of a study which found those bullied as youngsters are more likely to self-harm in later life, have called for more effective programmes to prevent bullying in schools.
In a paper, published by the British Medical Journal, they suggest efforts should focus on improving the ways in which children cope with emotional distress.
"Bullying by peers is a major problem during the early school years," they said."This study found that before 12 years of age a small proportion of children frequently exposed to this form of victimisation already deliberately harmed themselves and in some cases attempted to take their own lives."
Children bullied during their early years are up to three times more likely to self harm than their class-mates when they reach adolescence, a study by King's College London, has revealed.
According to its findings, around half of 12-year-olds who subject themselves to deliberate injury were frequently picked on.
The research, which has been published in the British Medical Journal, also showed victimised children with mental health difficulties and those from troubled families were at greater risk of resorting to destructive behaviour which could have serious long-term effects in later life.