Chronic bullying can take a toll on kids’ grades.
That’s the suggestion of researchers said they found that young children who are bullied for years, or teens who face increased bullying in high school, lack confidence in their academic abilities, get lower grades and dislike school more than their peers.
For the study, lead researcher Gary Ladd, a psychology professor at Arizona State University, and his team followed 383 boys and girls from kindergarten until high school. The team based its analysis on annual surveys completed by the students about their experiences, evaluations provided by the children’s teachers and student scores on standardized reading and math tests.
The study began in public school districts in Illinois, but after five years the children were spread out across 24 different states.
The researchers found 24 percent of the students faced chronic bullying. And 18 percent of the students faced some bullying early in grade school, but it got worse in high school. In both of these groups, boys were more likely than girls to have been bullied.
All of these bullied kids performed worse in school and had more doubts about their abilities, according to the study published online Jan. 30 in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Educational Psychology.
For some kids, things got better. The researchers found 26 percent of the students were bullied early on but it eventually stopped. Their academics were not as affected, and their performance results were similar to the 32 percent of students who faced little or no bullying. This suggests that many children who are victims of bullying can recover, the researchers said.