Monday, June 17, 2013

Bullying At Home Just as Harmful as Within Social Settings

A new study just released in the Journal of Pediatrics confirms that bullying is a problem for childhood development whether it take place in social settings such as schools, or even within families. As the new research points out, just as with peer bullying, sibling bullying is also harmful to a child or teenager’s mental health.

“Historically, sibling aggression has been unrecognized, or often minimized or dismissed, and in some cases people believe it’s benign or even good for learning about conflict in other relationships,” says Corinna Jenkins Tucker, lead author of the paper and an associate professor of family studies at the University of New Hampshire. “That’s generally not the case in peer relationships. There appears to be different norms for what is accepted. What is acceptable between siblings is generally not acceptable between peers.”

Tucker’s report used data from The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, a phone survey that collected the experiences of 3,599 children aged 1 month to 17 years who had at least one sibling younger than 18 living in the household at the time of the interview.  The interviewers asked about incidences of sibling aggression in the past year, and they also assessed mental health by asking how often the children experienced anger, depression and anxiety. Where children were too young to answer questions, parents were asked to complete the survey/interview.

Bullying has been a topic of interest in the local Teen Assessment Project (TAP) surveys which can be found on the Human Services Planning page on the County webpage. While the Herkimer County 2013 TAP survey  will be released by the Fall of this year, the most recent survey results covering bullying are in the 2011 Oneida County TAP report. Below is the table provided which points out how bullying has declined among teens over the past decade or so.

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