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How witnessing violence in school as bad as being bullied

ANI | Updated: Sep 17, 2018 15:31 IST

Washington D.C. [USA] Sep 17 (ANI): Turns out, witnessing violence in high school is as bad as being bullied.
Students who witness violence in school at the age of 13 are at later risk of psycho-social and academic impairment at age 15, according to a new longitudinal study by researchers at Universite de Montreal with colleagues in Belgium and France.
The researchers statistically tested the relationship between witnessing school violence in Grade 8 and subsequent antisocial behavior (drug use, delinquency), emotional distress (social anxiety, depressive symptoms), and academic adjustment (school achievement, engagement) in Grade 10.
They also compared the relative contribution of different forms of witnessing school violence and compared them to experiencing violence directly over the long term.
Michel Janosz of UdeM's School of Psycho-Education said, "Previous studies suspected that adolescents who witness violence might be at risk of experiencing post-traumatic psychological problems, but they could not rule out whether the students showing bystander effects were not already having such problems beforehand."
Co-author Linda Pagani, said, "There were several take-home messages. First, witnessing school violence in Grade 8 predicted later impairment at Grade 10. Second, bystander effects were very similar to being victimized by violence directly."
In their study, the researchers examined different forms of violence. Witnessing major violence (physical assaults, carrying weapons) was associated with later drug use and delinquency. The effect was the same for hidden or veiled violence (theft and vandalism). On the other hand, witnessing minor violence (threats and insults) predicted increases in drug use, social anxiety, depressive symptoms, and decreases in engagement and participation at school.
"Most students reported witnessing violence," said Janosz. "It is clear that approaches to prevention and intervention should include witnesses as well as victims and perpetrators and target all forms of school violence."
The full findings are present in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. (ANI)