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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 8 January, 2003, 14:04 GMT
Teens truant over face jibes
Two bullies kick a schoolboy in the playground
The research suggests ways to cut bullying
Teenagers are so worried about their looks that a fifth of them play truant to avoid teasing, a study has revealed.

Research carried out in Bristol found three-quarters of teenagers questioned had been upset by bullying over their features.

Almost a third of the youngsters admitted the bullying stopped them taking part in classroom debates, and one in five 15-year-olds said they had skipped school to escape it.

But the doctor who carried out the research says by teaching young people to deal with teasing it is possible to boost their self-esteem.

Coping strategies

Dr Emily Lovegrove, a researcher at the University of the West of England, questioned a sample of nearly 1,000 youngsters.

She found:

  • 75% said teasing or bullying about the way they look caused them distress

  • 31% said they refused to take part in classroom debate because of their appearance

  • 20% of 15 year-olds said they played truant because of worries over their appearance.

    Dr Lovegrove gave 200 teenagers lessons in how to cope with bullying.

    Increased confidence

    Six months after the sessions finished perceived levels of bullying had decreased by almost two thirds and self-esteem and confidence had improved significantly.

    Dr Lovegrove said: "This research shows that teasing and bullying about appearance undermines self-esteem and affects academic confidence.

    "But if we can teach social skills to deal with psychological bullying then it may stop physical bullying from ever starting."


  • Click here to go to Bristol
    See also:

    08 Jan 03 | England
    17 Sep 02 | Education
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