Bullying has detrimental long term effects


Bullying in childhood really does have a long term effect. A new study shows that serious illness, struggling to hold down a job, and poor social relationships are just some of the adverse outcomes in adulthood attributable to childhood bullying.

While most everyone knows bullying is bad and most people are aware of the immediate effects, relatively little published research has been made which shows the impact of bullying beyond the school years. This new study highlights the risk of problems related to health poverty, and social relationships heightened by exposure to bullying. This study goes beyond health related outcomes. This study also looked at the victims, the bullies, and those who fall into both categories.

A serious problem for the country

“We cannot continue to dismiss bullying as a harmless, almost inevitable, part of growing up,” said Dieter Wolke, psychological scientist at the University of Warwick. “We need to change this mindset and acknowledge this as a serious problem for both the individual and the country as a whole; the effects are long-lasting and significant.”

Bully-victims suffer the most, the longest

Bully-victims are at the greatest risk for health problems once reaching adulthood. They are six times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness, smoke regularly, or develop a psychiatric disorder. “In the case of bully-victims, it shows how bullying can spread when left untreated,” Wolfe explained. “Some interventions are already available in schools but new tools are needed to help health professionals to identify, monitor, and deal with the ill-effects of bullying. The challenge we face now is committing the time and resources to these interventions to try and put an end to bullying.”

All groups were more than twice as likely to have difficulty keeping a job or committing to saving assets as those not involved in bullying. They had a higher risk of impoverishment.

The bully comes out ahead

There are few lasting effects on the perpetrator. After accounting for childhood psychiatric problems and family hardships, the act of bullying itself had no long negative impact on adulthood.

“Bullies appear to be children with a prevailing anti-social tendency who know how to get under the skin of others, with bully-victims taking the role of their helpers,” said Wolke. “It is important to find was of removing the need for these children to bully others and, in doing so protect the many children suffering at the hand of bullies – they are the ones who are hindered later in life.”

Source: Psychological Science, MedicalNewsToday


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