Children who are bullied — and especially those who are frequently bullied — continue to be at risk for a wide range of poor social, health, and economic outcomes nearly four decades after being victimized, according to new research by King’s College London.
The study is the first to look at the effects of bullying beyond early adulthood, and is published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
The findings come from the British National Child Development Study, which includes data on children born in England, Scotland and Wales during one week in 1958.
The study includes 7,771 children whose parents provided information on their child’s exposure to bullying when they were aged 7 and 11. The children were then followed up until the age of 50.
“Our study shows that the effects of bullying are still visible nearly four decades later. The impact of bullying is persistent and pervasive, with health, social and economic consequences lasting well into adulthood,” says Dr. Ryu Takizawa, lead author of the paper from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.
Article continues belowAccording to the study, individuals who were bullied in childhood were more likely to have poorer physical and psychological health and cognitive functioning at age 50. Individuals who were frequently bullied in childhood were at an increased risk of depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal thoughts.
The study also found that victims were also more likely to have lower educational levels, were less likely to be in a relationship, and were more likely to report lower quality of life and life satisfaction.