Bullying and Eating Disorders

link between eating disorders and bullying

A surprising link between eating disorders and bullying

It is to no surprise that being a victim of bullying bears an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, but new research has discovered that bullies are also at risk psychologically. Studies now link eating disorders and bullying.link between eating disorders and bullying

Recently, a study at Duke Medicine and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine revealed that out of 1,420 children, bullies were twice as likely to exhibit symptoms of bulimia, a common eating disorder, as opposed to children who had no involvement in bullying. This study and its conclusive evidence are located in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Bullies often tease others due to their own insecurities, especially their body image issues. Researchers believe that the bullies may regret their decision to be hurtful to others, causing them to become bulimic or be obsessed with their own body image. Maybe the act of teasing helps the bullies to sensitize themselves regarding their own body image. The study also revealed that children who were both bullies and victims carry the highest risk of exhibiting symptoms of anorexia, binge eating, and bulimia, as opposed to the rest of the group.

Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph. D., states that as humans, we often are critical of others in ways that we dislike ourselves. If you are critical of your own weight, you are more likely to be critical about someone else’s weight too. Some victims can put the devastating effects of bullying behind them, but some are not as fortunate. Many children carry emotional and psychological baggage with them into adulthood. There is far more research that needs to take place to understand the cause and effect of bullying from the perspectives of the bully, and the victim.


Duke University Medical Center. (2015). Study finds surprising link between bullying and eating disorders.

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