Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling and Sex Therapy

Genetic link to bullying harm

According to the June 19, 2010 issue of Science News, there may be a genetic link to the level of emotional damage done by bullying.  Researchers at Duke University, North Carolina, found that kids with a short version of the 5-HTT gene were more likely to be emotionally upset by bullying, often severe enough to warrant mental health treatment.  And, teenage girls with a short version of this gene were also more likely to become depressed after being socially excluded or lied about.


  1. Maureen

    While I am amazed about the genetic connection to bullying, I am still concerned about what to do about bullying. It is a problem that is not going away in schools, even though we know more about it. I have even seen a rise of adults bullying adults to get what they want! I think we should be looking at society to determine what has changed so much to encourage this behavior as a means to getting what we want. I see bad behavior being glorified on many reality shows. There is a great lack of decency and respect. Is this what people truly want to see? Is this entertainment? Perhaps, we need to start looking at ourselves in the mirror and truly reflect on who we have become.

    • counselorbarb

      Yes, I agree that culturally we have changed. The success of recent “reality TV” shows attests to what you are saying. Bad behavior should not be glorified. Certainly our society has had an effect on bullying in schools, and also “adult” bullying.

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