The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Bullies may get a long-lasting physical benefit, scientists say

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
By Mary MacVean
Los Angeles Times (MCT)
Bullies may gain health benefits that last into adulthood from their behavior, researchers said Monday. And in turn, children who are bullied can suffer long-lasting inflammation.
“Our study found that a child's role in bullying can serve as either a risk or a protective factor for low-grade inflammation,” William E. Copeland, one of the researchers and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University School of Medicine, said in a statement. “Enhanced social status seems to have a biological advantage.”
Lest readers think researchers are suggesting children be raised to be bullies, Copeland added, “However, there are ways children can experience social success aside from bullying others.”
The work was published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers used the Great Smoky Mountains Study, which has gathered information from 1,420 people from 11 North Carolina counties for more than 20 years. The researchers looked at a marker of inflammation called C-reactive protein. They participants were interviewed and provided blood samples.
C-reactive protein is affected by conditions such as poor nutrition, lack of sleep and infection. “But we've found that they are also related to psychosocial factors,” Copeland said.
The researchers looked at victims, “pure” bullies and children who were both. Bullying involves repeatedly mistreating another person to improve or retain one's status.
Earlier studies have shown that victims of bullies suffer socially and emotionally into adulthood, including increased levels of depression and anxiety. Such children, the researchers said, also report physical problems such as pain and susceptibility to illness.
But, the study said, little is known about how the experience of being bullied is “biologically embedded to influence health status.” One potential mechanism is chronic, low-grade inflammation.
In adults, a high social status, including income or education level, is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers, the researchers wrote.
“The finding of lower increases in (C-reactive protein) levels for pure bullies into adulthood is novel,” the researchers said, adding that previous work tended to focus on the those who struggled through adversity.
©2014 Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at
Distributed by MCT Information Services

More Nation & World Headlines


HeraldNet Headlines

Top stories and breaking news updates


Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus