STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Bullying Can Damage A Child's Brain

When exposed to toxic levels of stress a build up of cortisol it can impact how neuropathways are constructed in a child's brain.

Posted: Feb 13, 2017 1:02 PM
Updated: Oct 19, 2017 7:16 AM

GRANTS PASS, Ore., -- Research shows peer bullying can be as damaging to a child as parental verbal abuse. Dr. Martin Teicher has studied the how a child's brain changes when that child is exposed to verbal abuse. According to his published research chronic verbal abuse, like bullying, can lead to an increased risk of psychiatric symptoms and abnormalities in parts of the brain which are still developing in school aged children. Dr. Teicher's research echos that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC teamed up with Kaiser Permanente nearly 20 years ago. Ultimately the findings of that study, and subsequent studies, allowed researchers, doctors, and child advocates to learn more about how detrimental Adverse Childhood Effects or ACEs can be to a developing brain. The original study, done between 1995 - 1997 "is one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and later-life health and well-being," according to the CDC. Questions asked of more than 17,000 participants showed a relationship between adverse childhood effects and negative consequences in emotional, social, and physical health in adulthood. 

As the CEO at Kairos, Bob Lieberman has spent many hours learning about ACEs and how to prevent and counter the impact on children. According to Lieberman, young children do not have the coping mechanisms to deal with toxic stress. Lieberman explained that there are several kinds of toxic stress children are exposed to such as poverty in the home; physical abuse between parents; physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by a parent to a child, divorce, exposure to addictive behaviors and even chronic bullying at school. When humans are stressed we release a hormone called cortisol. Lieberman says when exposed to toxic levels of stress a build up of cortisol it can impact how neuropathways are constructed in our brains. Since we create more neuropathways during childhood it is easy to see, even on an MRI how the brain is impacted by ACEs. 

Over the last 20 years research has shown the higher the number on an ACEs quiz the higher the risk for negative consequences in your emotional, social, and physical health. The correlation is so strong, Lieberman says, that the CDC has named ACEs as the leading determinant to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The impacts in adulthood all link back to the lack of development and damage done to the brain during childhood. Lieberman cautions that a high ACEs score does not mean a person is destined to get divorced, suffer from depression, or die of heart attack in middle age. He points out there are people who score an 8 out of 10 and still lead productive healthy lives. The key, according to Lieberman is resiliency. Those with a high ACEs score but few negative consequences have almost always had a positive and powerful sense of attachment and belonging. This can come in many forms through the community, cultural experiences, or spiritual beliefs. 

Finding your ACEs score is as easy as taking a ten question quiz. There are no questions about bullying, but Lieberman says it still applies. He explains that the questions have proved to be stand-ins for all kinds of adversity in childhood. The questions fall into three categories: abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. 

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 10395

Reported Deaths: 215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah252969
Marion166148
Washington162020
Clackamas86125
Umatilla7726
Union3561
Lincoln3464
Lane2283
Deschutes2210
Malheur2161
Polk16012
Linn1579
Jackson1520
Yamhill1398
Jefferson1340
Klamath1301
Morrow1071
Benton955
Hood River940
Wasco941
Josephine561
Clatsop540
Douglas510
Columbia420
Coos420
Lake210
Tillamook150
Crook130
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker50
Sherman30
Gilliam10
Grant10
Harney10
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 271035

Reported Deaths: 6441
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1165703534
Riverside20555486
Orange17882366
San Diego16726387
San Bernardino15345269
Imperial7190117
Alameda6855140
Fresno611077
Santa Clara5408164
Kern536982
Tulare5009136
San Joaquin447455
Sacramento423669
San Francisco399250
Contra Costa387885
Ventura378950
San Mateo3599108
Santa Barbara326129
Marin280921
Kings267333
Stanislaus266045
Monterey215115
Solano147625
Sonoma135911
Merced127211
Placer91111
San Luis Obispo7652
Yolo67726
Madera5785
Santa Cruz4593
Napa4364
San Benito2732
Sutter2523
Lassen2420
El Dorado2260
Butte2063
Shasta1544
Humboldt1444
Nevada1291
Yuba1282
Glenn1220
Lake961
Tehama881
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Del Norte581
Calaveras530
Mono471
Tuolumne430
Amador330
Inyo331
Siskiyou320
Mariposa311
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 58°
Brookings
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 50°
Crater Lake
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 44°
Grants Pass
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 52°
Klamath Falls
Clear
44° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Cooler & less windy Tuesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Monday, July 6th Evening Weather

Image

Medford approves new urban campsite for houseless along Biddle Road

Image

Family displaced following mobile home fire near Central Point

Image

Monday, July 6 afternoon weather

Image

Monday, July 6 morning weather

Image

Sunday, July 5 evening weather

Image

Golf Tip of the Week: Oak Knoll Golf Course

Image

Saturday, July 5 morning weather

Image

Saturday, July 4 evening weather

Image

Saturday, July 4 morning weather