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Our society has long accepted the emotional and psychological damage that results from physical and sexual abuse. In the past decade, we have become more sensitive to the serious long-term impact of yelling within families. When it comes to peer bullying, however, many suggest that it is not such a big deal.

One reason for this view is the sheer prevalence of those who report being bullied: recent studies indicate that 50% of high school students have been bullied by a peer within the last year, while an equal percentage report that they have bullied a peer in the last year. Sadly, the mentality is that bullying affects everyone – and affects everyone equally. This simply is not true.

New research suggests that bullying can leave an imprint on the brain. Specifically, bullying may slow or disrupt neurogenesis (the development of nerve tissues). While the research is still emerging, it is compelling. Read more in an excellent article titled Inside The Bullied Brain published by The Boston Globe.

I will continue to elevate bullying and gay teen suicide here at Lead Them Home. I do, however, want to shift gears a bit to focus on identity development. For now, I leave you with a provocative thought: teens battling the anxiety and fear that accompany bullying are more likely to disengage from healthy identity development. Join me this week as we take a closer look.   

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