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Wednesday, 04 September 2013
study has been published on the impact of childhood bullying in later life.It is the first of its kind to examine the social and economic effects of childhood bullying, and track the problems facing the victims as adults.
And it 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.
The new study analysed 1,420 participants four to six times between the ages of 9 and 16 years and adult outcomes between 24-26 years of age. They were victims, bullies and ‘bully-victims’, those who fell into both categories.
And the results published in Psychological Science showed there was no real difference in the likelihood of being married or having children.
However, 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, and were more than twice as likely to have difficulty in keeping a job, or commit to saving, and as such displayed a higher propensity for being impoverished in young adulthood.
Very few ill effects of being the bully were found.
Professor Dieter Wolke, of the University of Warwick, and Dr William Copeland, of Duke University Medical Center, led the research and found the ‘bully-victims’ presented the most significant health risk for adulthood, being more than six times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious illness, smoke regularly or develop a psychiatric disorder.
Professor Wolke said: “We cannot continue to dismiss bullying as a harmless, almost inevitable, part of growing up.
“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.”
Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive officer and founder of the bullying prevention group BeatBullying, said: “BeatBullying has been raising awareness of the devastating impact of bullying on young people’s lives for over ten years. But as this research reveals, bullying not only robs young people of their childhood, but can also severely damage a person’s future potential leaving them at greater risk of becoming impoverished.
“This research should be a wakeup call for us all. We need action now from Government, schools, families and communities.”
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