Bullying and Disordered Eating Behaviors

Bullying sets up a cascade of problems leading to disordered eating.

A recent review and meta-analysis supports the role of bullying as a risk factor for ED (Lie, Ro and Bang, IJED. 2019, May, 497-514). Two psychologists at the University of Ottawa, Canada, have reported on the longitudinal relationships of eating disorders, anxiety, and bullying (Child Psychiatry Hum Development.2019 Mar 26. doi:10.1007/s10578-019-00884-7.)

In their 4-year prospective study, Drs. K.S. Lee and T. Vaillancourt selected 657 students from grades 5-8 (aged 10-14 years) using the Canadian McMaster Teen Study, to be assessed on bullying and symptoms of anxiety and disordered eating.

The authors found that bullying victimization started a “cascading effect in bullying perpetration,” which then led to disordered eating behavior. Anxiety directly impacted disordered eating. The effects were the same in girls as in boys.

The authors suggest that bullying prevention programs may be helpful, and they advocate early intervention. [One helpful website for parents is www.stopbullying.gov.  See Table 1.]

Table 1. How to Get Help for Bullying

The problem What you can do
There has been a crime or someone is at immediate risk of harm. Call 911.
Someone is feeling hopeless, helpless, thinking of suicide. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline online or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in our national network. These centers provide 24-hour crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
Someone is acting differently than normal, such as always seeming sad or anxious, struggling to complete tasks, or not being able care for themselves. Find a local counselor or other mental health services
The Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help consumer portal prototype can help consumers get to the correct resource to solve their Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder insurance coverage issue.
A child is being bullied in school. Contact the:
1. Teacher
2. School counselor
3. School principal
4. School superintendent
5. State Department of Education
See more on working with the school.
The school is not adequately addressing harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or religion. Contact:
• School superintendent
• State Department of Education
• U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
• U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division
No Comments Yet

Comments are closed