Sticks and stones may break your bones, but name-calling could actually change the structure of your brain.
A new study has found that persistent bullying in high school is not only psychologically traumatising, it could also cause real and loading damage to the developing brain.
The findings are drawn from a long-term study on teen brain development and mental health, which collected brain scans and mental health questionnaires from European teenagers between the ages of 14 and 19.
Following 682 young people in England, Ireland, France and Germany, the researchers counted 36 in total who reported experiencing chronic bullying during these years.
When the researchers compared the bullied participants to those who had experienced less intense bullying, they noticed that their brains looked different. [1
In het bijzonder werd het patroon van shrinking waargenomen in twee delen van de hersenen die de putamen en de caudate , A change oddly reminiscent of adults who have experienced early life stress, such as childhood maltreatment.
Sure enough, the researchers found that they could p artly explain these changes using the relationship between extreme bullying and higher levels of general anxiety at age 19. And this was true even when controlling for other types of stress and co-morbid depressive symptoms.
"Alvorens niet klassiek als relevant voor anxiety beschouwd, is het belang van structurele veranderingen in the putamen and caudate to the development of anxiety most likely lies in their contribution to related behaviors such as reward sensitivity, motivation, conditioning, attention and emotional processing, "explains lead author Erin Burke Quinlan from King's College London.
In other words, the authors think that all this could be a mark of mental illness, or at least help explain why these 19-year-olds are experiencing such unusually high anxiety.
But while many past studies have already linked childhood and adolescent bullying to mental illness, this is the very first study to show that unrelenting victimization could impact a teenager's mental hea lth by actually reshaping their brain.
The results are cause for concern. Under adolescence, en ung persons hjernen er helt eksploderende med vækst, der ekspanderer til en utrolig plads.
Og selv om det er normalt for hjernen at beskrive nogle af denne overabundance, i hjernen af dem, der oplevede kronisk mobning, hele pruning process appears to have spiraled out of control.
The teenage years are an extremely important and formative period in a person's life, and these kinds of significant changes do not bode well. De forfattere mistenker at når disse børn bliver ældre, kan de begynne å oppleve større krymping i hjernen.
Men vi vil også gerne kontrollere at hunch er et langt mere langtidsstudium. In de tussentijd, de auteurs zijn aanraden dat alle inspanningen worden gedaan om te beperken aan pesten voordat het kan leiden tot schade aan een tienerss brain en hun mentale gezondheid.
Deze studie is gepubliceerd in Molecular Psychiatry .