National Bullying Prevention Month 2016 [LATEST NEWS]: Bullied Kids Needing Early Intervention? UA Researcher Says Relational Peer Victimization Should Be Addressed

By KJ Williams, Parent Herald October 11, 01:54 pm

One of the saddest realities in a child or a teen's life is perhaps the issue on bullying. Due to its pervasiveness, parents, even community leaders and teachers, all across the globe have been struggling to face the bullying problems every day.

Considered the only health-related concern for children that outdoes obesity among adults in the United States, bullying is one of the major problems the society is currently facing today. As a matter of fact, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health reveals bullying is on the top list of the 10 child health concerns among adults, with 57 percent rate.

As the world commemorates the National Bullying Prevention Month this October, experts have highlighted the need for the society to amplify its efforts to address and solve the burgeoning cases of bullying and its other subtypes such as cyberbullying among children and teenagers. Based on a news release that was sent to Parent Herald via email, a University of Alabama (UA) human development researcher pointed out the need to develop child intervention strategies to thwart the increasing incidents of relational peer victimization.

Based on the research conducted by UA's human development and family studies assistant professor Dr. Deborah Casper, she delved deeper on the various types of peer victimization and its consequences. It also highlighted the need for early interventions as a more effective way in addressing peer victimization and its adverse effects.

So, what exactly is peer victimization? It is defined as "being on the receiving end of an intentional act of aggression by a peer of a similar age who is perceived by the victim as harmful." Peer victimization is usually categorized into "overt victimization" and "relational victimization."

In overt victimization, it implicates behavior like "hitting, pushing and kicking." Relational victimization, on the other hand, is more surreptitious, where one becomes a target of a malicious and spiteful rumor or being intentionally excluded from an activity.

These two forms of victimization reportedly represent separate phenomena. But researchers found that bullied kids that are victims of one form of peer victimization have a probable chance to experience the other form.

In addition, the study revealed that victimization could lead to anxiety and depression. It also showed the "link between overt victimization and behavior such as impulsivity and delinquency also increases as children get older."

Meanwhile, Casper's study was published on Oct. 6 in the Society for Research in Child Development's journal Child Development. So, what are your thoughts on bullying? Please share them in the comments section below.

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