Friday, April 18, 2014

Effects of Childhood Bullying Extend Well Into Middle Age, Study Finds

A study published in today’s AJP in Advance—"Adult Health Outcomes of Childhood Bullying Victimization: Evidence From a Five-Decade Longitudinal British Birth Cohort"—suggests that impact of being bullied in childhood may persist at least until midlife.

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London, gathered data from the British National Child Development Study—which follows the lives of all children born in England, Scotland, and Wales during one week in 1958—to assess the ramifications of childhood bullying victimization into adulthood. The researchers analyzed data of nearly 8,000 participants with information concerning bullying exposures between ages of 7 and 11 and who participated in follow-up well-being assessments between ages 23 and 50.

The results showed that participants who were victims of childhood bullying had higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation at age 45, compared with those who were not bullied. In addition, victims of childhood bullying were less likely to be living with a partner and have social relationships and were more likely to endure economic hardships and have a poor perceived quality of life at age 50.

David Fassler, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont, and a child and adolescent psychiatrist, stated during an interview with Psychiatric News, “Despite increased awareness and the widespread implementation of school-based prevention programs, bullying remains a common experience for many young people. The current results underscore the importance of early recognition and access to appropriate and ongoing treatment for both bullies and their victims, as well as the need for additional research on the efficacy of programs designed to reduce the incidence of childhood bullying."

To read more about the impact of childhood bullying on mental health, see the Psychiatric News article, “Effects of Bullying Don’t End When School Does.” Also see the book Preventing Bullying and School Violence from American Psychiatric Publishing.

(Image: Twin Design/


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