Bullying Puts Children at Risk For Mental Health Problems Late In Life
Some argue that bullying is a “part of growing up”, but recently researchers have begun to discover the long-term effects of being continually harassed during youth and the findings are as bad as you might guess. The latest such study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, shows that even after the bullying has ended, the consequences can be seen decades later.
The study found that children who are bullied at the ages of 7 and 11 continue to experience increased risk of depression, anxiety, and suicide later in life. Surprisingly, the study also showed lower cognitive function at the age of 50.
“Being bullied in childhood retains associations with poor mental, physical and cognitive health outcomes at least to middle adulthood, 40 years after exposure,” the researchers, led by Ryu Takizawa, a Newton International Fellow, wrote. “The effects were small but similar to those of other forms of childhood hardship.”
The researchers conducted a survey over the course of 50 years, focusing on children who were bullied occasionally or frequency at 7 and 11. The participants were tested and compared at the ages of 23, 45, and 50. The researchers state that 28 percent of the 7,771 people in the study reported being occasionally bullies and 15 percent had been frequently bullied.