Bullying: Effects on the Inflammatory Response

Bullying can happen anywhere and to anyone. According to stopbullying.com, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”

Children can play many roles in bullying — they can bully others, they can be bullied, or they may actively or passively assist the bullying behavior or defend against it. Kids who bully and kids who are bullied are those involved in the so-called “direct roles in bullying.”

Image credit: Pimkie, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Bullying is known to have many adverse consequences on physical and mental health, with some persisting into adulthood. These adverse health effects may be present in everyone — those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying.

Results from a recent study show that bullied children may experience chronic, systemic inflammation that persists into adulthood, while bullies may actually reap health benefits of increasing their social status through bullying.

The study (Childhood bullying involvement predicts low-grade systemic inflammation into adulthood), published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (May 12, 2014), is based on data from the Great Smoky Mountains Study, a robust, population-based study that has gathered information on 1,420 individuals for more than 20 years. Individuals were randomly selected to participate in the prospective study, and therefore were not at a higher risk of mental illness or being bullied.

The team that carried out the study included researchers from the University of Warwick, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Emory University. They analyzed three groups of participants: victims of bullying, those who were both bullies and victims, and those who were purely bullies. Participants were interviewed throughout childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. In addition, the researchers collected blood samples from the study participants to measure levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of low-grade inflammation and a risk factor for health problems including metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

William Copeland (Duke University School of Medicine), one of the researchers, said in a press release “”CRP levels are affected by a variety of stressors, including poor nutrition, lack of sleep and infection, but we’ve found that they are also related to psychosocial factors. By controlling for participants’ pre-existing CRP levels, even before involvement in bullying, we get a clearer understanding of how bullying could change the trajectory of CRP levels.”

Results from the study show that victims of bullying suffer from greater increases in low-grade systemic inflammation from childhood to young adulthood than are seen in others. In contrast, bullies exhibit lower increases in inflammation into adulthood compared with those not involved in bullying.

“Our study found that a child’s role in bullying can serve as either a risk or a protective factor for low-grade inflammation,” Copeland said. “Enhanced social status seems to have a biological advantage. However, there are ways children can experience social success aside from bullying others.”


24 Responses

  1. IU
    IU at | | Reply

    According to the primary article, Childhood bullying involvement predicts low-grade systemic inflammation into adulthood), being bullied can have lasting effects over the lifespan from childhood to adulthood and put a child at a biological disadvantage. When under stress as what bullying causes, the body will release cortisol to adapt. The Mayo clinic states chronic release of cortisol can be bad for the body and allow the immune system to be altered from its normal functioning (Mayo Clinic, 2014). Being bullied as a child can put you at risk for many adult diseases in the future. The article is suggesting that bullying will alter your biology relative to a disease, you would have not have been exposed to if you were not a victim of being bullied. In fact, according to article “Biological embedding of stress through inflammation processes in childhood (2010),”states childhood maltreatment can indicate adult diseases in children because bullying increase CRP levels in blood which are known as a potential indicator of heart diseases and other inflammatory diseases. So with this knowledge, I am curious to know whether scientist can pre-diagnose a child with cardiovascular disease based on the level of bullying, one has experienced in their lifetime?

    Chronic stress puts your health at risk. Retrieved from the web December 7, 2014: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037.

    Danese, A., Caspi, A., Williams, B., Ambler, A., Sugden, K., Mika, J., … Arseneault, L. (2011). Biological embedding of stress through inflammation processes in childhood. Molecular Psychiatry, 16(3), 244–246. doi:10.1038/mp.2010.5

    1. Rene P.
      Rene P. at | | Reply

      Hi IU,

      Much like you, my mind immediately blamed high levels of cortisol (termed the “stress hormone”) for the increased inflammatory response secondary to elevated CRP levels; however, as I was reading the original study, Copeland et al propose that it is in fact a blunted cortisol secretion that could provide the neuroendocrine mechanism for their observed inflammation findings. Unlike situations of acute stress in which there is a rapid release of cortisol, chronic stress exposure (as experienced through bullying) often results in decreased amounts of cortisol. So if it’s not high cortisol levels causing the increased CRP then what else could it be? Well, it turns out that a blunted cortisol response is associated with increased body mass index especially in young children so, in this way, it comes back to good ole obesity and all of its effects on the body including high levels of CRP. As a side note, this is quite a vicious circle that has been created here: bullying leads to low cortisol levels which lead to increased weight which probably leads to even more bullying…poor kids.

      1. Thomas N
        Thomas N at | | Reply

        Not only does chronic exposure of stress decrease the amount of cortisol as Rene has pointed out, cortisol itself reduces the levels of IL-6, a cytokine that induces CRP expression. So it seems in situations of chronic stress or acute stress, cortisol may not be the causative agent that is elevating the CRP levels that the study has observed. As others have stated, there are many factors that may play a role in creating a physiological condition of increased CRP but I do not believe that cortisol is the causative agent after reading all of the articles. Research into other factors that control IL-6 production may ultimately control CRP or other cytokines other than IL-6 may contribute to CRP production would be beneficial to explain more of this system.

        1. NK
          NK at | | Reply

          I found a study at Pennsylvania State, which claims that the saliva of children holds a clue to chronic bullying. Apparently the hormones secreted in a child’s saliva may be a biological indicator of the trauma that kids undergo during chronic bullying and this information could be used in order to recognize and prevent long-term psychological effects on youth. The researchers at Pennsylvania State tested the saliva of 94 students in the 6th grade between ages 9-14 once in the mornings and one more time right before lunch since lunch time is when bullying commonly occurs. They found that even kids that were not bullied suffered from anticipatory anxiety because of watching others being bullied and having a fear that they are next. They focused on the hormone cortisol which we know is responsible for fight or flight response, immune cells activity, and some aspects of learning and memory. Their findings revealed that a desensitizing effect on the levels of cortisol takes place when the child undergoes a lengthy period of stress just like that of chronic bullying and that hypocortisol (low cortisol) levels was the true causative agent of the adverse effects that chronic bullying had on children. Results from their study suggests that although bullying is directly linked to trauma and anxiety, it is indirectly linked to cortisol levels.

          Hazler, Carney, and Richard Hazler. “Saliva Holds Clue to Chronic Bullying | Penn State University.” Saliva Holds Clue to Chronic Bullying | Penn State University. 15 May 2007. Web. 09 Dec. 2014.

          1. HP
            HP at |

            The Pennsylvania research study that you found was very fascinating for myself. I would have never guessed that the levels of cortisol in the saliva were higher after lunch compared to any other time of the day. In my opinion, lunchtime is the best time for the children to social and reduces the stress level they experience during classes or early morning or late afternoon. A lot of bullying generally happens before school as kids are bullied at bus stops and on the way to school and after school as they head towards home. However, this research did indicate that bullying during lunchtime had more adverse effects on the students than other times.

  2. UP
    UP at | | Reply

    I think this is a great turning point for our discussion. Bullying indeed is the cause of numerous health problems including depression, anxiety, hypertension, and heightened levels of stress. How our cardiovascular and metabolic systems respond to everyday stress as children can predict the outcome of our cardiovascular health in the long run. Being able to “pre-diagnose” a young child for a cardiovascular disease based on the everyday bullying/stress he is exposed to would be revolutionary. However, I think the association between bullying and deteriorating cardiovascular health is extremely broad. There can be numerous other factors that can lead to cardiovascular problems including the child’s diet and any genetic predispositions he may have.

    To better understand the link between these two, a study was conducted at a hospital involving hospital personnel (doctors, nurses, technicians, administration, and maintenance). These individuals completed a survey asking about their health at their time (body weight, blood pressure, etc.). Two years later, these same individuals were given a second survey asking about their health at the current time. These individuals were required to state if their doctor had diagnosed them with any health conditions in the two year span.

    Their results included individuals who reported that they experienced some form of bullying at the workplace with negative cardiovascular effects. However, when the researchers closely studied their results, they realized that there were external factors that could have also lead to a deterioration in cardiovascular health including the weight of the individual and other physical attributes. Those individuals who were reported to be either overweight/obese, experienced a heightened level of bullying in addition to cardiovascular health problems. Therefore, researchers indicated that the risk of attaining cardiovascular disease was also attributable to overweight individuals.

    With that being said, I don’t necessarily think that doctors can pre-diagnose children with cardiovascular disease depending on the level of bullying they experience. They can certainly take further observations into what the school environment is like for the child, however I believe that other factors such as their age/weight/family history should be of considerable important primarily, and then bullying should be observed.

    Elovainio, M., Keltikangas-Jarvinen, L., Kivimaki, M., Vahtera, J., Vartia, M., Virtanen, M. (2003). Workplace bullying and the risk of cardiovascular disease and depression. Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 60(10): 779-783.

    1. IU
      IU at | | Reply

      Thank you for your response. I figured thinking outside of the box would trigger provocative thinking on the subject manner. You have to admit, that if it happens in the future, I thought of it first lol. But your research on the subject manner makes sense. I agree, there are other factors that can contribute to cardiovascular disease or any other inflammatory disease. Just wishful thinking lol

  3. citedone
    citedone at | | Reply

    This research is very interesting because not only bully activity link to physical and mental health, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and sleep disturbance, but also have connection to some psychological research level. Here, the psychological research means the elevated social status. Because children have no money, no obvious fame among their counterparts, they use bully as one way to increase their social status. In adults, such bully activities decrease because the new measurement like income and education level appears.

    I am interested in all those “elevated social status” above, include bully, economy, and education have connection to lower level of inflammatory markers, that is C-reactive protein (CRP). Previous research named“Association of markers of systemic inflammation,C reactive protein, serum amyloid A, and fibrinogen, with socioeconomic status” stated that there was a decreasing trends of CRP with increasing socioeconomic status. Low socioeconomic status have relatively high level of CRP, with a companion to higher cardiovascular disease risk. Another research in 2006compared CRP concentration in different educational level. The Mean of CRP concentration in those who received master degree (highest degree in this research) is 3.2 mg/liter, while Bachelor’s is 3.6, and the high school (the lowest degree) is 4.7, so the CRP concentration decrease from lowest degree to the highest. Similar results can be seen in the concentration of IL-6.

    I thinks those who in an upper level of social status have less pressure during their life. They always feel better and happy than those who are in lower status. When facing less stress, the pressure marker, IL-6 will express less. IL-6 have some regulation effect to CRP, so in these three researches, the CRP decrease obviously from lower level of social status to higher.

    1. JLH
      JLH at | | Reply

      I would like to expand on this idea, and incorporate socioeconomic status of one’s family along with their history of bullying. You said that children have no money, and so use bullying as means to gain social status. However I would like to point out that children can bully others based on their peers’ parents’ financial status, lifestyle, and overall status in the community. A child’s socioeconomic privilege (or lack thereof) can influence their childhood bullying experience.

      I found a more comprehensive study, Early life socioeconomic adversity is associated in adult life with chronic inflammation, carotid atherosclerosis, poorer lung function and decreased cognitive performance: a cross-sectional, population-based study (2011)
      , that assessed the health of 666 adults of both high and low socioeconomic status, by looking at inflammatory markers such as CRP, IL-6 and ICAM levels. The study also assessed cognitive and lung functions.

      The study assessed early childhood conditions on the following factors: “
      number of siblings, whether or not their parents owned their home, father’s occupational category, whether or not they reported being bullied as a child, whether or not their parents owned a car, overcrowding (number of occupants in house divided by
      number of rooms), leg length (a surrogate measure of nutrition during growth [31-33]) and trunk length.” Current socioeconomic status was determined by average household income, level of education achieved, and home ownership.

      Interestingly, you can see that the percentages of those reporting being bullied are similar for those who are least socioeconomically deprived (24.6%) and those who are most deprived (28.7%). Yet, as seen in other studies, those who were grouped as most deprived had significantly higher CRP levels than those grouped as least deprived. Those who were most deprived also reported a much higher incidence of smoking, lower cognitive capacity and decreased lung function. This also makes me question if the original bullying study controlled for factors such as smoking, and drug/alcohol abuse? These substances may increase CRP, and are often turned to in times of duress, for example due to excessive bullying. The study concludes that “In statistical models that included both early life conditions and contemporary indices of adult socioeconomic status, [current factors (ie. income, education, homeownership)] were clearly more important determinants of IL-6 and ICAM and possibly incorporated most of the predictive information inherent in the early life variables, although father’s occupational category persisted as an independent factor for CRP.” The correlation to father’s occupation and high CRP and IL-6 levels may speak to the idea that socioeconomic status is, in most cases, “inherited”, or cyclical. Ultimately, I think that linking bullying directly to increased plasma CRP levels cannot be justified with the additional environmental and genetic influences affecting results. It would be very difficult to find a large enough population that can control for all of these factors in later studies.

      1. citedone
        citedone at | | Reply

        Yes, although directly link bully to increased plasma CRP level is complicated, my point was to link socioeconomic position to CRP level. More and more researches are investigating such connection recently.

        One research used a two cohort comparison to study the concentration inflammation markers such as CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α between low and high socioeconomic status. They investigates two different place, one was in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the number of 6412; the other was in Porto, Portugal, with the number of 1205. In this research, low socioeconomic status was significantly associated with high inflammation in both groups. Another research directly examine CRP concentration in a larger sample comprised 13,371 participants in from ELSA-Brasil baseline. Although some health-risk behaviors and metabolic alterations were important mediators in such kind of research, lower childhood socioeconomic status was associated with higher levels of CRP in adult life.

        Because the increased CRP have association to socioeconomic status, the next mission is to define whether bully behavior belong to the category of socioeconomic status. Moreover, it needs more work to investigate the relationship between bully and smoke, drink, drug abuse. Maybe such bully activity leads those abuse behavior, then abuse behavior increase the CRP concentration. Or we can just investigate those who do not have abuse behavior to see whether bully can solely leads the elevated CRP concentration. Indeed, it need much more work to elaborate the association between bully and those inflammation markers.

      2. PS
        PS at | | Reply

        It is a great idea to ask questions about the environmental background of these kids. JLH, you brought up the connections between socioeconomic status and bullying which made me wonder how family stress may impact the developing child. Wyman and his research team examined associations between parental stress and the effects of children’s rate of illness, natural killer (NK) cell function, and the overall effects on children’s functioning. They report that by the age of 12 low cortisol levels in children who have been exposed to childhood stress can already be detected. This led them to suggest that adverse experiences which blunt the HPA axis may not be limited to direct victimization such as bullying. In addition, these children exhibited elevated levels of NK cell cytotoxicity and higher rates of infection. The researchers also noted that even elevated parental psychiatric symptoms such as “negative mood” and “dysfunctional behaviors” were associated with elevated levels of NK function and increase in child illness. Although it is questionable the degree of severity that “negative mood” may hold, and what “dysfunctional behaviors” may include. Overall, these findings contain the evidence suggesting that family stress has the potential to have detrimental effects on the child’s immune system.

        1. HP
          HP at | | Reply

          Environmental background and bullying are very associated closely to each other because the environmental can influence a person in a positive and a negative way. I really like your comment on how some people also face parental bullying. This form of bullying can be more harmful because it is harder to avoid this type of bullying because your constantly facing this compared to someone bullying you in school that you can avoid by changing schools. Also, students that face parental bullying are more vulnerable to be bullied at schools because they cannot stand up for themselves because they don’t have anyone to guide them and encourage them to defend themselves. I also believe that children that are bullied by their parents at childhood tend to bully their children as parents to relieve some of the stress.

    2. Amina B
      Amina B at | | Reply

      Those are all great points, but actually it shouldn’t be completely dismissed that bullying stops as adults. There are people who experience bullying even as adults: in professional sports by team members, by a boss or co-workers at a job, and even in personal life between spouses. Bullying at any age can cause harmful effects on the body, especially when they get stressed from it. In a study done Workplace bullying and health complaints: the moderating role of physiological activation it was found that there was a connection between health problems associated with a pre-existing blood pressure issue and the increase of the decline of health issues when faced with work place bullying. So it definitely exists where even adults who have more “control” over their lives, can also face this issue. At any age, the immune system will be affected long-term, especially when stress is involved.

  4. PY
    PY at | | Reply

    Bullying provokes changes in psychological conditions of the victims and also infer chronic stress to their immune system. Although CRP is a indicator of inflammation, there is a wide range of physiological changes when a person is under chronic stress that the paper didn’t focused on. Stress-induced immune dysfunction: implications for health stated that IL-6, a proinflammatory cytokine, is an inducer of CRP. Furthermore, psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety, which are likely to be present for the victims of bullying, also increases the release of IL-6. Numerous other physiological changes are present when under chronic stress which includes: susceptibility to infectious diseases, and delayed wound healing. Therefore it is necessary to perform additional studies that also focus on not only on CRP but also the components of the immune and endocrine system as these system ties into each other. Sociological, and psychological studies should also be performed as bullying is a behavior and not a physiological disorder. The paper presented above although it did not focus much on the physiological systems of the body, it shows that there are many future research opportunities.

    1. Amina B
      Amina B at | | Reply

      I agree there are many health setbacks that can be affected from stress caused from extremities like bullying. I found an article Transcription factor ATF3 links host adaptive response to breast cancer metastasis suggesting that a gene ATF3 is one that has been connecting stress with the spread or metastasis of cancer in patients. Apparently, this ATF3 gene has been known to be activated in cells when there is a stressful event and to take it a step further, researchers found that the cancer cells actually make the cells of the immune system to express ATF3. By expressing this gene, the ATF3 tricks the immune system into giving cancer a way out from a tumor to other parts of the body. The mechanisms aren’t known yet, but this stress gene has been linked with the spread of breast cancer. So stress can play a wide variety of roles in a human body in so many different ways. There are probably ways we haven’t even discovered yet.

  5. RMR
    RMR at | | Reply

    Children are extremely vulnerable to stressful environments and respond to these situations in a variety of ways. This study provides that CRP levels increase in children who were victims of bullying, but does that take into account how they responded to this stress? CRP levels are affected by “poor nutrition, lack of sleep and nutrition,” as stated in the post; to what level does bullying influence the victims’ behavior? Many children are being bullied about their appearance, and this causes them to be self-conscious and have low self-esteem. This bullying usually occurs at school and has a huge influence on children’s ability to focus and learn. At such a young age, kids are not aware of various ways to deal with stress, so they turn to food or a more sedentary lifestyle to avoid social situations. The link between the victims’ lifestyles and CRP levels should be taken into consideration when discovering ways to prevent these long-term issues from developing from this childhood stress. Lifestyle, in my opinion, is the most important factor influencing children’s ability to deal with stress. The victim should be monitored to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle in response to their situation, which could help their body control the amount of CRP produced and prevent these long-term circumstances. In our more digital age, cyber bullying should be taken into consideration when treating victims, as it is just as dangerous as traditional bullying. Unfortunately, it is very hard to prevent this from happening to children, and the world continues to be tough for these victims. Parents are trying to create a safer environment for their children, but the many forms of bullying prove to be difficult for them to change. The fact that these victims are not only suffering psychologically but also experiencing long-term health issues is very sad, and hopefully more research can be done to prevent these health problems from occurring.

    Recognizing the Many Faces of Bullying.

  6. Corrie
    Corrie at | | Reply

    CRP is closely associated with cardiovascular disease. Does this mean that children who are bullied are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease and is there a way to eliminate the negative effects of this? A study on physical activity and clustered cardiovascular risk in children looked at the risk of children developing atherosclerosis. It was found that achieving 90 min of daily activity might be essential for children to prevent insulin resistance. Perhaps the group of children bullied in this study have a lower level of activity than the bullies and this is the cause of the elevated levels of CRP. Children who exercise could have long term benefits in protecting against diseases associated with a href=” http://sobrafir.com.br/imagens_up/artigos/The_anti_inflammatory2.pdf“> chronic low-grade systemic inflammation. This is because IL-6 mediates an anti-inflammatory response after exercise. Children who exercise have also been found to have improved moods. Implementing more exercising and team activities are ways that children could experience social success in a positive way for all individuals involved.

  7. BP
    BP at | | Reply

    There are so many reasons as to why children decide to bully others. It could be that they find this as a stress reliever or the common conception that they are insecure themselves so they gear towards belittling others. Whatever the case may be, bullying is an aggressive behavior that definitely takes a toll on health. I believe that the key thing to understand is that a child’s immune system is still developing and bullying at a young age has more of an impact versus adults being bullied. The immune system is linked to other systems within our body, with the most important being the nervous system. If both are impacted, this can have a long-lasting effect on children’s health later on in life. CRP is not only associated with cardiovascular disease but also with other chronic conditions such as renal failure, as this study shows. Maybe if another study is conducted to measure CRP in those that have been bullied or bully others, the health history of the participants should definitely be considered.

  8. Mila A.
    Mila A. at | | Reply

    The emotional and physical effects of bullying are devastating, especially in children. This type of stress can significantly wreck havoc on the immune system. There has been research performed that proved there is a relationship between the inflammatory response to stress and accelerated aging in children, which can be seen in the length of their telomeres (ends of the chromosomes, DNA). In an interesting article I read about a study done on accelerated biological aging in childhood as a result of bullying and other stressful events. http://www.livescience.com/19858-bullying-child-abuse-aging.html The study included 236 children whom had experienced some form of bullying, domestic violence, or physical abuse. They were all born between 1994 and 1995, and researchers measured the length of their telomeres at ages 5 and 10. Some children experienced more than one type of violent event, it was discovered that those children had significantly faster telomere shortening between the ages of 5 and 10 than the other children. The researchers utilized controls that included other possible factors for shorter telomeres such as health, body weight, gender and socioeconomic status, which further supported their findings. They believe that it’s not only the physical violence that causes shorter telomeres, but the cumulative effects of stress on the immune system. While stress from bullying can cause future cardiovascular issues, headaches, anxiety and depression, it could actually lead to premature death as well. Some researchers believe telomere length can predict life span, as it is understood that shorter telomeres are a result of aging. http://www.pnas.org/content/109/5/1743.abstract?sid=655540cc-e747-486b-b321-b99d9bd53512 It is clear that if the stress of bullying is not eliminated early in a child’s life, there are severe health effects that will manifest in their adulthood. We must all strive to create effective ways to end bullying so that no child will have to suffer these unnecessary consequences.

  9. PJ
    PJ at | | Reply

    According to this article, victims of bullying are prone to long-lasting health problems, which is bewildering when considering the number of children bullied daily. Researchers’ studies have shown high levels of proteins in the bloodstream of these children. These proteins are associated with fighting off infections. Many of the researchers hypothesize that bullying cause “toxic stress” that may potentially induce depression and psychotic symptoms. If these symptoms continue to persist into adulthood, then the victim is at risk of developing mental and physical health problems.
    The knowledge gained by this research is important because it not only allows doctors to better assess various types of interventions that are geared towards reducing problems associated with childhood bullying, but in addition school counselors, whom are there to bolster the child’s well-being. Nonetheless, this research demonstrates the significance of straying away from the perception of bullying being harmless and natural amongst youth because when considering the potential profound effects on both the mental and physical health, then we will begin to form derisions on this topic. This will hopefully provide an environment where no child has to endure the stress that bullying incites.

    1. onooks
      onooks at | | Reply

      I think you make a good point about adults ignoring the lasting effects of bullying on children. It is important to be aware of these things because I believe that at one time everyone has suffered from a certain type of bullying. I think the focus for the future is to now look at possibly treating children who suffer majorly from bullying in terms of stress and anxiety in hopes that it would lessen the complications of problems in the future. Also, many people like to look at the children being bullied but what about the children who are bullying others. In this article, The Relationship between Bullying, Victimization, Depression, Anxiety and Aggression in Elementary School Children,the authors talk about bullying from the aggressors stand point and the different forms of bullying inflicted such as indirect and direct aggression. I think a good future direction would be to look into the inflammatory resposnses of children who choose to bully and see if anything different is going on with them as well.

    2. Kmiller
      Kmiller at | | Reply

      This topic is very close to my heart. My youngest sister was severely bullied when she was in elementary school and again in high school. For all of 4th grade she was tormented by another girl in her class. The girl went as far as to smear mashed potatoes in her hair during lunch. Then in high school, she was in a wheel chair because of several ankle surgeries. Her principle made her crawl up the stairs on her hands and knees for the class picture while her whole graduating class looked on. To say the least she has had a hard time. She is now a junior in college. I never thought about there being a relationship between bullying and immune system health. My sister had anxiety disorder and panic attacks in kindergarten. This has progressed into OCD and Bipolarism as well. I now wonder if we were able to prevent the bullying would she not have to deal with these issues. I look forward to more research on this subject being published. Hopefully we can bring enough awareness to the issue to get the administration of these schools to finally stop bullying.

  10. HP
    HP at | | Reply

    Bullying is an aggressive behavior that can be done in person or electronically. Electronic bullying is called cyberbullying, which includes mean text messages, emails, videos or fake profiles. Cyberbullying is very similar to the traditional bullying in that someone is chosen who is vulnerable and cannot stand up for themselves to be bullied over time. The hardest thing about cyberbullying is that the bully is not in front of you and for the most part you don’t know who it is. Some cyberbullies are the same ones that bully others in person and some are the ones that get bullied. If some research goes into checking the immune responses of a couple of people that participate in cyberbullying and real life bullying then we can maybe correlate a connection. It would be very interesting to see if the participants of cyberbullying have higher or lower CRP levels compared to those that participate in traditional bullying. We can also see a correlation if the same people participate in cyberbullying are the ones that bully in person or get bullied.


  11. A. Huezo
    A. Huezo at | | Reply

    Bullying can and does have many physical, psychological, and physiological affects on any person. Bullying takes the form of mental and physical harming of an individual. The increased stress leads to higher susceptibility to illness. Stress reduced the efficiency of the immune system.


    This article further explains the damage caused by prolonged stress. The systemic inflammation mentioned by this article is related to increased levels of cytokines and antibody production.

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