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The health effects of bullying

Researchers have found that bullies have better long-term health than their victims and those who have no involvement with bullying, but aggressive children often suffer in other ways.
Emily Hales, Deseret News Modified: May 15, 2014 at 12:18 pm •  Published: May 16, 2014
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New research shows bullying can cause negative health effects for victims, while some perpetrators experience some biological benefits.

But experts note those benefits can also be achieved through activities that aren't as harmful to others.

A study from Duke University looked into the biological results of bullying scenarios, since not much work had been done on the long-term physical effects. Researchers found that children who were bullied suffered from higher levels of low-grade inflammation, while those who were bullies showed lower levels of inflammation than those who had never been part of a bullying scenario.

The research team, led by William Copeland, began the study with 1,420 children. The team interviewed the children about their bullying habits, then analyzed the health of the children over the course of their childhood, ages 9-16, and into adulthood, ages 19-21.

The researchers focused on measuring the amount of C-reactive protein in the children's blood streams. The presence of CRP indicates that the individual has inflammation in the body. The inflammation is usually caused by cardiovascular disease, infection or cancer, according to the Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia.

The results of the study showed a strong correlation between bullying scenarios and CRP levels.

"Although CRP levels rose for all participants across this period, being bullied predicted greater increases in CRP levels, whereas bullying others predicted lower increases in CRP compared with those uninvolved in bullying," Dr. Copeland said in the study.