Effects of childhood bullying could last into mid-life
The negative effects of bullying during childhood may still be evident 40 years later, according to a new study that is the first to examine the effects of bullying beyond early adulthood.
Scientists from King’s College London collected data on more than 7,500 children born in England, Scotland and Wales. The children’s parents provided information about exposure to bullying between ages 7 and 11, and researchers continued to follow up with them until the age of 50.
The researchers found that the children who were bullied either occasionally or frequently were more likely at age 50 to have poorer physical and psychological health and cognitive functioning than those who were not bullied as children. The children who were bullied frequently—about 15 percent of the study’s participants—had an increased risk of depression, anxiety disorders and suicidal thoughts. Additionally, those that were bullied were found to be less likely to be in a relationship, have good social support and reported a lower quality of life and life satisfaction.
The study’s findings, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, suggest that childhood bullying may have long-term effects on social, physical and mental health. Experts said that the study highlights the importance of programs to stop bullying.