Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly what bullying does to kids in the long run. We already know from past research that being bullied appears to increase a type of unhealthy inflammation in victims, even decades later. Now a new study from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California has examined the brains of bullying victims, and the results continue to be not good.
The researchers tracked 83 kids from ages 9 to 14, both scanning their brains and asking them questions about their social lives and stresses. Reporting on the new study, Sarah D. Sparks of Education Week writes, “The amygdala, associated with the ability to process emotions and react to stress, was larger in volume among 14-year-olds who had been bullied as children, with the effect greater for boys than girls. Moreover, previously bullied adolescents had thinner temporal and prefrontal cortexes, areas critical for processing information and regulating behavior. This thinning was seen in both sexes but was stronger in girls than boys.”
Surprising? No. Depressing? Yes.