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Study: Bullied Students Show Poorer Academic Performance

Reuters reports on a study published January 30th in the Journal of Educational Psychology that examined the toll that bullying takes on academic performance in bullied students.

About the Study on the Academic Effects of Bullying

The Study was led by Gary Ladd, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University. Researchers enrolled 383 kindergarteners into their study and frequently assessed each child’s feelings of victimization, enthusiasm for school, academic esteem, and performance through teacher evaluations and standardized test scores.

Children were asked about how frequently they were bullied, with answer choices ranging from “almost never” to “almost always.” The children were studied through the 12th grade.

Researchers noted that those who were “high-chronic” victims of bullying were most likely to have low school engagement, low academic self-perception, and low academic achievement. These effects were most evident in math subjects.

Researchers Surprised to Find Downward Trend in Bullying As Children Aged

In Kindergarten, 21% of children experienced “severe” bullying and 38% experienced moderate levels. These proportions declined through the final year of high school until the rates of severe and moderate bullying were 1% and 11%, respectively.

The researchers note that this downward trend through grade levels runs counter to popular culture that depicts bullying as increasing in severity through high school.

While the lower incidence of bullying in later years of school is a positive development, researchers are concerned about students who remain “high-chronic” victims of bullying for the entirety of their school years.

Recommendations for Responding to Bullying in Schools
  • The California Department of Education’s Safe and Supportive Schools program recommends that teachers and parents educate themselves about the different types of bulling.
  • Safe spaces can be created to talk and take action when students appear distressed.
  • Parents and teachers should pay attention to certain comments about kids not liking them or not letting them play.
  • Gary Ladd advises that bullying accusations should be taken seriously and parents should not fall victim to “boys will be boys” and “girls will be girls” mindsets.

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