Problem: Getting shoved on the playground, or swirlied in the toilet, called mean names behind your back, or to your face—bullying takes many forms (even more of late thanks to the Internet), and is an unfortunate part of life for many children. Some have argued that it’s just an unpleasant rite of passage, but many others, including government officials, feel otherwise. Some kids may “bounce back,” but we hear many stories of bullying gone too far, of teasing that ends tragically. And research shows that bullying victims have higher rates of self-harm, anxiety, and depression during childhood and adolescence.
A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, out of King’s College London, provides more evidence that bullied kids might not totally bounce back, that their health, relationships, and even economic status may be at risk even into middle age.
Methodology: The researchers looked at data from the U.K.’s National Child Development study, on more than 18,000 people who were born during one week in 1958. Those children were followed up with at ages 7, 11, 16, 23, 33, 42, 45, and 50. During the 7-year-old and 11-year-old check-ins, the children’s parents reported whether their children were bullied never, sometimes, or frequently. While it’s possible that some children were being bullied without their parents’ knowledge, the study notes that “reports of bullying victimization from mothers and children have been shown to be similarly associated with emotional and behavioral problems.”