Children who are physically bullied can be up to nine months behind their peers in academic performance, a new Australian study has revealed.
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute surveyed 965 primary school children, looking at child-reported bullying and NAPLAN results as a marker of academic achievement.
The analysis found frequent bullying did have an impact on a child’s grades, with one in three boys and one in four girls aged eight to nine experiencing incidents weekly.
Children who were physically victimised were found to be about six to nine months behind other students academically.
Boys were more likely to be physically bullied, but there was no gender differences for teasing and name calling.
The detrimental academic effect was, however, stronger for girls than boys.
The study’s lead author Lisa Mundy said bullying was most common in mid-to-late primary school, just before puberty and when children become aware of group hierarchies.
“We need to better equip schools and teachers to deal with the prevention of bullying to minimise the potential long-term effects it can have on a child’s social and emotional development,” Dr Munday said.