Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Child Bully Victims Fare Worse as Adults on Several Measures, Study Finds

 “Being bullied is not a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up but throws a long shadow over affected children’s lives,” said Dieter Wolke, Ph.D., of the University of Warwick in the U.K., and William Copeland, Ph.D., an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences of Duke University Medical Center, and colleagues, online in Psychological Science. They drew on data from the Great Smoky Mountain Study, which followed children aged 9 to 13 in western North Carolina until ages of 24 to 26. Children who bullied others, children who were bullying victims, and children who were both perpetrators and victims of bullying had worse health, lower incomes, and poorer social relationships as adults when compared with children not involved with bullying, the researchers found.

After adjustment for family hardship and childhood psychiatric disorders, however, the “pure” bullies were at no great risk than their unaffected peers. Bully-victims were much more likely to fail to complete their education, have difficulty holding a job, and have problems forming and maintaining friendships, said Wolke and Copeland. “Involvement with bullying can be easily assessed and monitored by health professionals and school personnel, and effective interventions for reducing victimization are available,” they concluded.

To read more about mental health consequences of bullying, 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: Suzanne Tucker/


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