Understanding the Long-lasting Effects of Bullying

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Over the last 10-15 years, society has started to realize some of the serious consequences that bullying can have on a person’s life. We know that victims face greater challenges than the typical individual in the short-term (for example, graduating high school), but what about the long-term?

About a week ago, Discovery News wrote a piece on a study done by the journal Lancet. They concluded, among other things, that “children who have been bullied are more likely to have mental health struggles later in life than children who are mistreated by adults.”

The study of 5,446 children surprisingly suggested that maltreatment by adults led to no more adverse effects suffered later in life than kids who hadn’t been maltreated. On the other hand, children who were bullied were far more likely to have mental health issues later in life compared to those who had not.

Taking a closer look, the study revealed some surprising information about children who were bullied alone:

“Children who were bullied by peers only were more likely than children who were maltreated only to have mental health problems … with differences in anxiety … depression … and self-harm,” the study said.

One valid argument against such findings is that children spend more time around bullies than they do abusive parents.

The study was wrapped up with this important note:

“Being bullied by peers in childhood had generally worse long-term adverse effects on young adults’ mental health. These effects were not explained by poly-victimization. The findings have important implications for public health planning and service development for dealing with peer bullying.”

Although the truth is disturbing, it’s refreshing to see people take the initiative to educate themselves while raising awareness for others in the process.  With continued studies and research on bullying, we can be confident that the world will be a better place for our youth as we move towards the future.


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange.

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