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Up to 40 per cent of adults exposed to bullying: University of Regina psychologist

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WATCH ABOVE: Nine to 40 per cent of adults are exposed to bullying, according to research done by a University of Regina doctoral student – Feb 28, 2018

Nine to 40 per cent of adults are exposed to bullying, according to research done by a University of Regina doctoral student.

“I discovered from working in the areas of trauma and PTSD that a lot of people reported traumatic experiences from being bullied,” Aida Thorisdottir said.

Thorisdottir is working on her doctorate in clinical psychology, and leading a study on adult bullying.

READ MORE: Sask. widow given compensation after husband’s suicide linked to workplace bullying

“I think a lot of adults are especially ashamed of what is happening to them,” she explained. “They blame themselves for not being able to stop what is going on. They tell themselves that anything they can do is going to be ineffective because they are adults; they should be able to stop this.”

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Thorisdottir says while adults understand that bullying in children often happens through small events over time, they often fail to recognize the same in their own lives.

“It happens repeatedly, often in very sneaky ways. People try their best to stop it, but often it doesn’t work. Over time it breaks people down and can be very stressful,” she noted.

Workplace bullying can take a variety of forms, including social exclusion and verbal or physical harassment. Her research suggests that the psychological effects of bullying frequently extend beyond the work place.

“Often the stress of what’s going on spreads to other areas of life, like difficulties in the marriage, or relationships with other people. When you’re being bullied, and under this constant stress a lot of people find it hard to relax, even in their free time.”

Thorisdottir added that bullying isn’t confined to any place or occupation, nor did it discriminate based on age, race or gender. It affects everyone, everywhere. It is something bullying advocates from a variety of different fields confirmed.

READ MORE: City of Edmonton employee survey finds harassment, bullying in the workplace

“I’ve seen it, it happens for sure,” former Saskatchewan Roughriders slotback receiver Scott McHenry admitted at a Pink Day anti-bullying rally.

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“It doesn’t happen for long, if it gets to that point somebody is going to stand up. I’ve seen veterans time and time again go to a locker and say ‘stop it, that’s not how we do things in Saskatchewan,’” he assured.

Thorisdottir’s research has led her to develop an online treatment to help those impacted by bullying. A public survey testing the treatment can be found online and is open until May.

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