Bullying Linked to Psychosomatic Symptoms in Kids [AUDIO]
Children who are bullied experience higher rates of psychosomatic health issues.
That’s according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. Those symptoms included headaches, stomachaches, neck and back pain and muscle aches.
“It’s not surprising because bullying causes a great deal of emotional distress in children and sometimes that gets expressed in different ways and it can certainly be expressed through physical symptoms and not just emotions,” said Dr. Steven Tobias, psychologist and Director of the Center for Child and Family Development in Morristown. “It can often serve as a way to help the child to avoid school, it gives them an excuse of reason to not go to school and therefore, avoid the bully.”
“When we talk about psychosomatic symptoms, the child really does feel them. They are not just making it up or pretending to feel these things. They really do feel them even though they are psychological in origin. They are very real to the child,” said Dr. Tobias.
According to the study, the rates of psychosomatic symptoms decreased in samples that included more female study participants.
“Girls are often more verbal especially about their feelings and relationships, so it’s very possible that girls are verbalizing to their friends, parents or others. So, talking and sharing may give them another way to deal with the feelings they have related to bullying rather than internalizing it or having it manifest psychosomatically,” said Tobias.