The famous quote claims the only thing in life worse than being talked about, is not being talked about – and a new study may have proved this to be the case.

Being ignored at school has been found to be worse for a person’s health than people who are harassed or bullied.

Researchers found that while most consider ostracism less harmful than bullying, feeling excluded is significantly more likely to lead to dissatisfaction, quitting and health problems.

‘We’ve been taught that ignoring someone is socially preferable – if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,’ said University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business Professor Sandra Robinson, who co-authored the study.

‘But ostracism actually leads people to feel more helpless, like they’re not worthy of any attention at all.’

The researchers used a series of surveys for their study.

Firstly, they determined that people consistently rate ostracism as less socially inappropriate, less psychologically harmful and less likely to be prohibited than harassment.’

Additional surveys revealed people who claimed to have experienced ostracism were significantly more likely to report a degraded sense of school belonging and commitment, a stronger intention to quit, and a larger proportion of health problems.

This found that people who reported feeling ostracized were significantly more likely to have quit.