A University in the West of England interviewed 1,000 adolescents. Of those questioned 75% had heard negative comments
about their appearance which caused them distress, and 31% said they refused to take part in classroom debate because
of their appearance. Researchers consider that 20% of 15-year-olds play truant because of concerns about their appearance.
As part of the study programme, lessons were developed to help them and their peers cope with appearance-related bullying.
More than 200 twelve and thirteen year-olds were given lessons on the importance of body language in human interactions,
as well as
learning and practising coping strategies. Six months after the sessions finished perceived levels of bullying had decreased
by almost two-thirds and there were significant improvements both in self-esteem and in confidence to tackle teasing and
bullying. A similar group, which did not follow the study programme, showed no improvement.
The conclusion was that teasing and bullying about appearance undermines global self-esteem and affects academic confidence. But if we can teach social skills to deal with psychological bullying, which is the most common form, then this may help physical bullying from ever starting.
'THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH' Hab. 2:4
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