Childhood Bullying: Memories Stick

childhood bullyingNew findings by researchers at King’s College London has found that the negative effects of childhood bullying are still apparent nearly 40 years later.[1] These researchers are the first to investigate the repercussions of childhood bullying beyond the years of early adulthood.1

“Our study shows that the effects of bullying are still visible nearly four decades later, ” said lead author Dr. Ryu Takizawa. “The impact of bullying is persistent and pervasive with health, social, end economic consequences lasting well into adulthood.”1

Childhood bullying is repeated harmful actions by children of a similar age, and victims often find it hard to defend themselves.1 The negative effects of childhood bullying are consistent, even when other factors are taken into account, such as IQ, emotional and behavioral problems, parents’ socioeconomic status, and low parental involvement.1

The study included 7,771 children whose parents reported on their child’s experiences with bullying at ages seven and 11.1 The data used was collected from the British National Child Development Study, which includes information on all children born in England, Scotland, and Wales during one week in 1958.1 The children were followed up with until the age of 50.1

Twenty-eight percent of the children in the study had been bullied occasionally, and 15 percent had been bullied frequently.1 The victims of childhood bullying were likely to have worse physical and mental health, as well as lower cognitive functioning at age 50.1 Victims were also at an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.1

Also, those who had been bullied were more likely to have lower educational levels and less likely to be in relationships.1 They lacked good social support and reported a lower quality of life and overall life satisfaction.1

“We need to move away from any perception that bullying is just an inevitable part of growing up,” said senior author Louise Arseneault. “Teachers, parents, and policy-makers should be aware that what happens in the school playground can have long-term repercussions for children. Programs to stop bullying are extremely important, but we also need to focus our efforts on early intervention to prevent potential problems persisting into adolescence and adulthood.”1

Arseneault added, “Forty years is a long time, so there will no doubt be additional experiences during the course of these young people’s lives which may either protect them against the effects of bullying or make things worse. Our next step is to investigate what these are.”1

[1] Pedersen, T. (2014). Effects of Childhood Bullying Still Evident 40 Years Later. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/04/19/effects-of-childhood-bullying-still-evident-40-years-later/68716.html

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