Recent studies illustrate the numerous ways in which bullying affects kids, such as causing them to have nightmares and predisposing them to carry guns to school.
One study found that bullied children were 31 times more likely to carry firearms to school compared with those not bullied. Another found an increased occurrence of nightmares and night terrors later in life in kids who were bullied a few years earlier.
“Tragedies like the Columbine High School massacre have alerted educators and the public to the grave potential for premeditated violence not just by bullies, but by their victims as well,” said researcher Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.
Twenty percent of high school students reported being bullied, and those being bullied had a higher likelihood of carrying a weapon, translating into an estimated 200,000 kids potentially bringing guns to school, the first study discovered.
The researchers also found that those who were bullied were more likely to be in lower grades, females, white and more likely to carry a weapon to school than kids who were not bullied (8.6% vs. 4.6%).
“Bullying can take many forms,” said the researchers. “Students who have been victimized repeatedly and in multiple ways are most likely to carry a weapon in school and in the community.”
“More effective interventions must be implemented to protect those students who are recurrent victims of bullying,” the researchers added.
The study, aptly titled “Exponential, Not Additive, Increase in Risk of Weapons Carrying by Adolescents Who Themselves Are Frequent and Recurrent Victims of Bullying,” analyzed data from 15,000 high school students, and extrapolated from there.