(WJBK) - What exactly does bullying do to a child?
A new study published by the American Psychological Association followed hundreds of children starting in kindergarten through high school, finding that kids who are bullied a lot have lower grades, dislike school and lack academic confidence, and researchers say the findings are significant.
"It is probably one of the first really robust studies that tracks children for so many years," says clinical psychologist Jephtha Tausig-Edwards, Ph.D. "They basically corroborate what we know clinically, anecdotally, for years. What's important about this is this now provides increased scientific evidence of the fact that bullying truly is anti-academic in schools."
The cause and effect makes sense.
"It's usually pretty bad. You can imagine that if you went to workplace every day and people teased you and hazed you, you wouldn't necessarily be in the frame of mind to do your best work. It's the same thing for children," Tausig-Edwards explains.
The study found 24 percent of the students faced chronic bullying. For the others, who didn't experience the same level of bullying, there's a strong chance for a bright future.
"We all have different degrees of resilience and children can bounce back beautifully, which is why the larger percentage for which bullying remits can usually do pretty well. It's the 24 percent that it doesn't remit for that I'm concerned about," says Tausig-Edwards.
Researchers say schools should have anti-bullying programs. They also advised parents to routinely ask children if they are being bullied or excluded at school, and to take their responses seriously. It's often not easy to talk about but you can look for signs such as feeling sick, faking illness, lost items or difficulty sleeping.