Bullying sparks disorders among young women, study finds

Sep 19, 2013 | News

A Michigan State University study is pointing to a new cause for self-destructive behavior in teenage girls.

A depressed teenage courtesy of wikimedia      

A Michigan study says, bullying may cause self-destructive behavior among young women, courtesy of wikimedia

Included in the study are signs showing young girls having a higher risk of developing eating disorders and smoking habits due to internet abuse by the people they date.

“Being bullied by a boyfriend figure in a young woman’s life is definitely a trigger,” Jennifer Lezcano, a Bellwood Health services and eating disorder consultant, told Humber News.

Other triggers of eating disorders could stem from Hollywood trends including: celebrity culture, counting calories and the perfect body ideal, said Lezcano.

Anna Fraser, 21, has suffered from three different forms of eating disorders including Anorexia, bulimia and compulsive daily exercising since the age of 12.

Fraser said, family and financial issues caused her eating disorder to gain the upper hand in her teens, along with her romantic life.

“My first real boyfriend called me fat, and that was horrible to me,” said Fraser.

Fraser said her eating disorders took a physical toll on her body and although she is healthy now, it will forever be a daily struggle.

Diane Feldman, with The Canadian Lung Association said for some of her clients, stress due to personal issues leads to smoking and also makes it harder to quit smoking.

Sarah Attard, 21, told Humber News her smoking began when she was harassed by an ex boyfriend over the internet.

Attard said, she now relies on smoking for more than just relief from difficult relationships; it’s now become ritualistic.

“Persistent bullying, regardless of environment, makes victims vulnerable to social, physical, and mental health consequences,” said the study published in the International Criminal Justice Review.