Family Resilience to Protect Bullied Children Seems Successful

Shirley Amy
October 30, 2019

“Findings suggest that children whose families cope well with adversity are less likely to be bullied, or to bully others”


Some interesting news just in: previous studies have indicated that children who have ACEs (adverse childhood experiences), have an increased susceptibility toward bullying others, or being a victim of bullying themselves. However, recent research has contradicted these findings, and puts forward the suggestion that: “family resilience–the ability to work together to overcome problems, for example—reduces this risk”. So let’s take a look at the controversy.

Presentation to the General Public

A summary of the research paper, “Assessing the Effect of Family Resilience on Bullying in U.S. Children with Adverse Childhood,” was recently presented at the American American Academy of Pediatrics in New Orleans. A well known researcher at The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center at New York’s Department of Pediatrics, named Elizabeth Li, who acted as the study’s spokesperson at the conference, stated: “Bullying is a widespread problem, especially among children experiencing other forms of trauma. It can lead to mental health problems later on, affecting those who are bullied, those who do the bullying, and those witnessing it” .

Taking a Look at the Study Details

The research involved putting the spotlight on answers to the NSCH (National Survey of Children’s Health), which was conducted between 2016 and 2017. The questions comprised asking the mothers and fathers of American children (aged 6 to 17), about their son’s or daughter’s: mental and physical health, family, their access to good health care, their school, their neighborhood, and their social environment.

From 2016, the NSCH survey also included additional questions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These related to “family resilience,” and were based on caregivers’ responses to the questions: “When your family faces problems, how often are you likely to do each of the following?Talk together about what to do; work together to solve our problems; know we have strengths to draw on; and stay hopeful even in difficult times”.

The study team concluded that resilience within the family had a substantial connection to: “a lower rate of bullying others in children with up to 3 ACEs. It also had a significant protective effect against being bullied in children with up to 2 ACEs”.

The scientific paper’s head investigator, Andrew Adesman, MD, FAAP, who works at the New York Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center, as the principal of developmental & behavioral pediatrics, noted that the study indicates that the manner in which a child’s family responds and reacts to traumatic incidences is a key point. This is because their reactions can have an enormous effect on their son’s or daughter’s well-being and behavior in the future. “Parents should be aware of how they handle adversity and consider both the direct and indirect impact these events may have on their children”. Wise words indeed…

Shirley Amy

Shirley Amy is a Holistic Health Specialist and professional writer who's published 4 books. Her  interests include optimum wellness, mental health, fitness, and positive lifestyle change. She holds University and College qualifications in the fields of Health Science, Nutrition, Mental Health, Fitness, Holistic Therapy and Aromatherapy.

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