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Bullying May Lead to Sleep Loss in Teens

Sarah Shoen

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Sarah Shoen, PR Specialist

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Bullied teens are more likely to experience moderate-to-severe sleep loss, according to researchers at the University of Queensland. The results come from what researchers call the first large-scale, worldwide study to examine the impact of bullying on sleep.

Results from 282,036 teens between 13 and 17 years old in 91 countries indicated that teens who are bullied at least three days a month are twice as likely to experience severe sleep loss, which researchers defined as “most of the time or always,” than those who are not bullied. More than a third of participants — 36% — experienced some form of sleep loss after bullying.

Participants also responded to questions about emotional stress in their lives that cause them to lose sleep. Teens who experience severe or moderate emotional stress are often found to have severe sleep loss.

The results were consistent across all participants, regardless of the participants’ geographic region. Teens in high-income countries ranked the highest for severe sleep loss. The World Bank defines these countries as having a gross national income per capita of $12,696 (USD) or more.

“Bullying increases worry, stress, and anxiety, and these factors may act to delay and disrupt sleep,” researchers said.

Researchers noted the overlap between sleep loss and impaired mental health, as sleep loss can be a symptom and precursor of poor mental health. Poor sleep can decrease resilience to negative social interactions, like being bullied, which can worsen its effects.

While all states in the U.S. have anti-bullying legislation, and federal laws require schools to respond to bullying, these results demonstrate the health impacts of this continuing issue. Researchers say this study underscores the importance of appropriate intervention programs to reduce bullying across the globe.

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About Our Editorial Team

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Sarah Shoen

PR Specialist

Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She has a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.

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