Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Bullying May Threaten Children's Future Mental Health

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Bullying May Threaten Children's Future Mental Health

Article excerpt

Bullying by peers changes the structure surrounding a gene involved in regulating mood, making victims more vulnerable to mental health problems as they age, suggests a new study by a researcher at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) at the Hopital Louis-H. Lafontaine and professor at the Universite de Montreal.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, seeks to better understand the mechanisms that explain how difficult experiences disrupt our response to stressful situations. "Many people think that our genes are immutable; however, this study suggests that environment, even the social environment, can affect their functioning. This is particularly the case for victimization experiences in childhood, which change not only our stress response but also the functioning of genes involved in mood regulation," says Isabelle Ouellet-Morin, lead author of the study.

A previous study by Ouellet-Morin, conducted at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, showed that bullied children secrete less cortisol--the stress hormone--but had more problems with social interaction and aggressive behavior. …

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