Bullied children are more likely to self-harm during their adolescent years than their classmates are, the BBC reports. A British study of more than 2,000 children shows that 12-year-olds who had endured bullying were up to three times more likely to bite or cut their own arms, pull out hair clumps, or attempt suicide. "Bullying by peers is a major problem during the early school years," wrote the study's authors. "Frequent victimization by peers increased the risk of self harm."
Published in the British Medical Journal, the authors called the finding "even more concerning" because other studies suggest that "early patterns of self harm can persist through adolescence into adulthood and increase the risk of later psychological problems." In hard numbers, 237 of 2,141 participants were frequently bullied, and about 8% self-harmed; among the rest, only 2% self-harmed. "This is clearly too many and victims need to be provided with alternative coping strategies from a young age." (Turns out bullying can also age the DNA of children prematurely.)