Children who have been subjected to bullying, child abuse and other violence age faster than children who have not, according to a new study from Duke University. According to the study, the protective tips of chromosomes, called telomeres, in children who have experienced violence deteriorate more than those of their counterparts. The ones who had experienced violence were twice as likely to die young.
The study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, was conducted on a group of children born between 1994 and 1995 who were divided into three groups: those who had no experience with violence, those who had experienced it once and those who have experienced violence two or more times. According to the research, the majority of violent experiences came from physical assault by an adult (26 percent), frequent bullying (24 percent) and domestic violence in the home (17 percent).
Bullying is an issue that has gotten considerable media attention in recent years. This report comes on the heels of several high-profile bullying cases. In the most recent, a New Jersey father describes in a YouTube video his dismay after finding out a teacher and aides at his 10-year-old autistic son’s school were bullying the child. The video has since gone viral and the parties involved have been fired or moved to other schools in the district.
A new movie called, simply, “Bully” also has brought considerable attention to the issue—particularly after the Motion Picture Association of America gave the movie an R rating, which meant it would not be seen by the audience it was intended to reach, middle and high school adolescents. The producers decided to release the movie without a rating, leaving it up to the discretion of movie theaters whether they would allow children under 17 to see it.