Pregnancy, Babies, Parenting News & Tips

Far from Being Harmless, the Effects of Bullying Last Long Into Adulthood

By Staff Reporter / Aug 19, 2013 02:59 PM EDT
  • Far from Being Harmless, the Effects of Bullying Last Long Into Adulthood
  • (Photo : Flickr) Far from Being Harmless, the Effects of Bullying Last Long Into Adulthood

A new study shows that serious illness, struggling to hold down a regular job, and poor social relationships are just some of the adverse outcomes in adulthood faced by those exposed to bullying in childhood.

It has long been acknowledged that bullying at a young age presents a problem for schools, parents and public policy makers alike. Although children spend more time with their peers than their parents, there is relatively little published research on understanding the impact of these interactions on their lives beyond school.

Like Us on Facebook

The results of the new study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, highlight the extent to which the risk of problems related to health, poverty, and social relationships are heightened by exposure to bullying. The study is notable because it looks into many factors that go beyond health-related outcomes.

Psychological scientists Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick and William E. Copeland of Duke University Medical Center led the research team, looking beyond the study of victims and investigating the impact on all those affected: the victims, the bullies themselves, and those who fall into both categories, so-called "bully-victims."

"We cannot continue to dismiss bullying as a harmless, almost inevitable, part of growing up," says Wolke. "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."

The 'bully-victims' were at greatest risk for health problems in adulthood, over six times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness, smoke regularly, or develop a psychiatric disorder compared to those not involved in bullying.

The results show that bully-victims are perhaps the most vulnerable group of all. This group may turn to bullying after being bullied themselves as they may lack the emotional regulation or support required to cope with it.

"In the case of bully-victims, it shows how bullying can spread when left untreated," Wolke added. "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 the groups were more than twice as likely to have difficulty in keeping a job, or committing to saving compared to those not involved in bullying. As such, they displayed a higher propensity for being impoverished in young adulthood.

However, the study revealed very few ill effects of being the bully. After accounting for the influence of childhood psychiatric problems and family hardships - which were prevalent among bullies - the act of bullying itself didn't seem to have a negative impact in adulthood.

"Bullies appear to be children with a prevailing antisocial tendency who know how to get under the skin of others, with bully-victims taking the role of their helpers," explained Wolke. "It is important to finds ways 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."

Although they showed no real difference in the likelihood of being married or having children, all groups showed signs of having difficulty forming social relationships, particularly when it came to maintaining long term friendships or good ties with parents in adulthood.

The research assessed 1,420 participants four to six times between the ages of 9 and 16 years and adult outcomes between 24-26 years of age.

Provided by Association for Psychological Science
Featured Video : Never Leave Your Child Alone in the Car: Parents Urged to Take Heat Stroke Seriously Before it's too late

IMF says Ebola hits economic growth in West Africa

A fan of Ivory coast holds a sign with a message against Ebola during the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifying soccer match between Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone at the Felix Houphouet Boigny stadium in Abidjan September 6, 2014.

Read More »

Nebraska Ebola patient showing more progress : hospital

Nebraska Ebola patient showing more progress : hospital

Read More »

U.S. FDA staff review of NPS drug sparks stock rebound

U.S. FDA staff review of NPS drug sparks stock rebound

Read More »

Ice Cold Awareness—The ALS Association & The #IceBucketChallenge

In terms of marketing ploys, none may be quite as viral in these past few summer months than the “Ice Bucket Challenge” which has swept through social media by storm. The concept, simple: to either donate funds to the ALS Association or douse yourself with a bucket of ice water. And like a chain mail or massive viral text, the challenge has been spread to the corners of the United States.
Initiated by the ALS Association, a non-profit organization that supports awareness and research into Amyotropohic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the organization has picked up momentum and a bank full of funds from the freezing summertime challenge.

Read More »

Mexican Scientists Develop New Device to Monitor Developing Cardiovascular Disease

With staggering statistics of the American Heart Association and other researchers in the field of cardiology proving that Hispanics/Latinos over the age of 20 have a greater than 30 percent incidence of cardiovascular disease, researchers in Mexico have begun developing a device that will monitor cholesterol and triglyceride levels—all without a single drop of blood.

Read More »

A Fanless PC That Can Keep Its Cool And Still Be Hot—Silent Power PC

The days of the traditional tower PC as we remember them are long gone. The contemporary takes on the personal computer are far sleeker, some might even say chicer than their 90's predecessors. Processors have picked up GB's of speed, memory has expanded exponentially and mother-boards have verged on the borderline microscopic. But what's more, some companies are even ditching the essentials for a more creative approach at high-speed processing.

Read More »

An Exercise in Simplicity—Faraday Café Puts An End to the Social Age

There’s something to be said in the simplicity that we grew up in. Confined by the evolutionary limitations our voices and our feet could manage, before the turn of the digital revolution, humans were a far less social creature… at least in theory. But now that we’re so connected on the internet, and constantly looking for more ways to log on rather than hang out, there are those who think that the simplicity and personal connections we once thrived on are lost.

Read More »

Perseids Meteor Shower 2014 [August 11-12 Live Streaming & Peak Times]: Perseids Play ‘til Tuesday

With the closest extra supermoon we’ll witness for another two decades orbiting just beyond our atmosphere this past weekend, many found that the radiating light-pollution was a distraction to the real show; the Perseids meteor shower.

Read More »

Mexican Copper Mine Contaminates Both Sides of the Border—Toxic Drinking Water

While researchers at the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) are studying the results of a 140-cubic-foot oil spill in the North Sea, to identify issues and rapid response in the first 24 hours after a major spill, the Mexican government is far more preoccupied with a much more real situation of pollution near the American border. Only 25 miles south of the Mexican-American border in the province of Cananea, federal officials have reported that approximately 10 million gallons of toxic wastewater from the Buenavista copper mine have entered into nearby rivers, contaminating drinking water and causing massive die-offs in local fish/plant species.

Read More »

So Now You’re A Vegan: How One Small Bug Bite Can Change Your Appetite

Causing quite a bit of stir in parts of the Southwest, scientists discover that a rash outbreak of forced-veganism is likely due to a simple bug bite—but it’s not a temporary issue physicians say.

Read More »

Twice As Likely To Lose a Limb—How Poverty Affects Diabetes

Exposing the large gap in the current healthcare system, with a particular focus on disadvantaged populations, a new study from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UC Los Angeles reveals that lower-income individuals suffering with diabetes have a significantly larger chance of amputation than those living in wealthier areas.

Read More »

Supermoon & Perseids Meteor Shower will Cover Night Sky this Aug. 9-12 Weekend [LIVE STREAM Info]

A summer filled with many memorable moments, the image of a night sky covered in light may be one for the record books, astronomers assure. In the second installment of the supermoon trilogy that is taking place this summer, this Sunday Aug. 10 will take the record for the next two decades as the largest full moon of the quarter-Century.

Read More »

Real Time Analytics