Skip to comments.Mental And Physical Toll Of Bullying Persists For Decades
Posted on 04/22/2014 8:56:25 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, right? Well, not when it comes to bullying.
Some may still consider bullying a harmless part of growing up, but mounting evidence suggests that the adverse effects of being bullied aren't something kids can just shake off. The psychological and physical tolls, like anxiety and depression, can follow a person into early adulthood.
In fact, the damage doesn't stop there, a British study published this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests. It actually lasts well into the adults' 40s and 50s.
"Midlife ... is an important stage in life because that sets in place the process of aging," says Louise Arseneault, a developmental psychologist at King's College London and the study's senior author. "At age 50, if you have physical [and] mental health problems, it could be downhill from here."
And health isn't the only thing to worry about. Chronic bullying's effect on a person's socioeconomic status, social life and even cognitive function can persist decades later, too, Arseneault's research suggests.
The study began with a national survey of nearly 18,000 children in England, Scotland and Wales who were born during a single week in 1958. Their parents were interviewed twice once when the kids turned 7, and again when they turned 11 about how often the children were bullied. Researchers also noted the children's IQ score at the time and checked reports from teachers for any behavioral problems indicative of anxiety or depression in the kids.
Then, for four decades, they checked in periodically with roughly 8,000 of those children, recording their health, socioeconomic status and social well-being at ages 23, 45 and again at 50.
More than 40 percent of the children were reported as having been occasionally or frequently bullied at age 7 and 11 not too far from today's estimates in the U.S., where up to 50 percent of kids say they've been bullied at least once within a month.
Researchers found that at age 50, those who'd been bullied particularly those who were repeatedly bullied reported somewhat poorer physical health than those who hadn't been, and also had an increased incidence of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. They also had lower education attainment; memory tests indicated that they tended, as a group, to have somewhat poorer cognitive function than those who weren't bullied.
The study accounted for other factors that might have confounded the results, Arseneault says, such as poverty during childhood, family conflict and evidence of physical and sexual abuse. Though the study couldn't definitively say the bullying caused the long-lasting problems, Arseneault says, other studies and statistical tests suggest the association is more than coincidental.
"In terms of relationship, they seem to be less likely to live with a partner, and to have friends who they can speak to or rely on if they're sick," Arseneault tells Shots. "As they get older, you would think that maybe they would grow out of it but it's not what we're showing."
The study is impressive, says William Copeland, a clinical psychologist and epidemiologist at Duke University, who wasn't involved in the British research but has done work on the long-term effects of bullying. "This is the longest follow-up study we have of victims of bullying to date," he says.
People need to shift their thinking on bullying, Copeland says, from considering it a "harmless rite of passage" to "this kind of critical childhood experience that can really change one's trajectory for decades and decades."
Bullying is somewhat different today from what it was in the '60s cyberbullying on the Internet has extended its reach. Copeland says the concept remains the same: singling out a weaker person as the target for repeated intentional harm. It's just that the abuse is no longer confined to schools and playgrounds, he says. It can happen in the no-longer-safe haven of a child's home.
Victims need some place where they can get away from the abuse and feel safe, Copeland tells Shots. "As you lose that, as you're getting teased constantly, that can lead people to have much worse outcomes, and to feel like there's really no way they can escape.
"As we see more and more studies like this," Copeland says, "I think people are going to be more and more comfortable thinking of bullying in the same way we think of [other sorts of] maltreatment in childhood as something that's just not tolerated."
I had a boss who was a bully. I worked for him for a total of two months.
So undoubtedly the solution to this age-old problem is to pass a slew of feel-good laws that will severely restrict freedoms, cost millions of dollars, and fail to affect the problem in any way.
How about returning to a moral society, say one in which some rule like “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is taught? That might have a more lasting effect than massive government involvement.
Be a whining loser forever! You got bullied. Better go on some psych drugs. And hide in your room. You got bullied!! Stop the presses.
Jeez. Get over it you pansies.
I have two questions...one serious, and one semi-serious:
1) With all of the anti-bullying efforts happening, all of the protection and shielding that we're giving children ... how will they ever learn to cope with difficult people at a later stage in life? I forese, in the near future, adults needing mediators to see who gets the last parking spot at the mall, to adjudicate against those who cut in line at a movie theater, and so on.
2) Does all this intolerance of bullies, amount to bullying in itself? Bullies have a right to their own individualism, too.
In fact, I think the argument could be made that many (most) of the people on an anti-bullying crusade would simultaneously think *nothing* of crucifying me for making an off-color joke, or a remark that could potentially be misconstrued as "racist", "sexist", or "homophobic".
Truly, the inmates are taking over the asylum.
Don’t forget, any “bully laws” will be automatically applied to anyone who doesn’t agree with leftists.
I was bullied in High School by a large fellow that took pot shots at me when I was not looking. He’s dead now. I’m not.
I’m no pansy, but I was mercilessly bullied by a couple of classmates who were bigger and more popular than me.
I don’t whine, take psych drugs nor did I hide in my room.
But to this day, if I ever come face to face with either of them, I’d probably beat them to within an inch of their life.
I won’t forget and still haven’t been able to achieve the forgiveness part of “forgive and forget”.
They essentially ruined some years of my childhood due to apprehension, fear, embarrassment and loathing because I wasn’t able to take them on one on one until a few years later. I decked one of them with a roundhouse punch and that was that with him. The other managed to avoid his “reward”.
But make no mistake, I don’t support any “program” that “criminalizes” the behavior, but do support some means for the victim to be able to get even without repercussions.
Many kids today lack appropriate coping skills and when tired of it, resort to violence of the worst kind. I believe that a simple a$$ kicking of epic proportions, either by the victim or an advocate is in order.
“Dont forget, any bully laws will be automatically applied to anyone who doesnt agree with leftists.”
Bullying is quite harmful and I think it can have long term effects on a person and society ( although not the way this article puts it).
Trying to stop bullying is a good thing, but the current movement to do that is a scam.
It is really exactly for what you say above.
Translation: God is a bully... homosexual pedophiles who take children from their Father in Heaven are the heros.
The biggest contribution to bullying today is the kid being bullied is not allowed to defend himself. If some punk is pushing some kid around and the kid decks him, guess who’s in trouble.
Yes, but their bullying rights will end where there faces meet my fist. :-)
That and as I mentioned, lack of coping skills. I grew up in an era where people “earned” what was coming to them...that’s why I didn’t get in trouble. Everyone knew these two were bullies, but since they weren’t the target, it was of no concern to them.
Parenting has been turned over to socialist school “counselors” who work harder trying to get the victim to “understand” their oppressor rather than holding the oppressor accountable. Zero tolerance insanity is just that, insanity. History proves this policy to be beyond idiotic.
The victim, as mentioned upthread, is called a pansy or told to just “get over it”, but never allowed to get even or attempt to rectify the situation through proven means.
How many grade school, middle school or high school children have adequate coping skills for a situation like this? Not many I’d wager.
And the anger, frustration, fear, loathing, embarrassment, etc. are allowed to fester, grow until there is just a feeling of hopelessness.
Any traumatic event in a young person’s life will stay with them forever. But, that does not translate into it being something dreadful for their later lifetime.
Some events are part of the maturation process, including the schoolyard bullies, cliques, etc. Sometimes I think we make more of these things than is necessary. Of course, I am speaking from a youth that took place in more civilized times for children.
I lost my Dad when I turned 11 years of age. It was a sudden natural death from a heart attack. It was traumatic, and I still carry some emotional scars from that event. When I lost my Mom, who lived to be 94 years of age, I was prepared and did not suffer much separation anxiety at all, as I knew she was where she wanted to be. Still, when I think of my Dad’s death, I cry a little inside of me for the pain of it.
I learned in the 4th grade that the best solution to a bully was a 2x4 up the side of the head.
The bully moves on to easier meat, after that.
“But to this day, if I ever come face to face with either of them, Id probably beat them to within an inch of their life.”
Ran into one of those at my High School reunion a few years ago. After about 90 minutes, he reverted to type, to which I replied, “How about I just rip out your f-in throat, instead?”
He never said a word to me, the rest of the night.
How about returning to a moral society, say one in which some rule like Do unto others as you would have them do unto you is taught? That might have a more lasting effect than massive government involvement."
Well said sir.
Female bullies operate differently. The bullies in my HS class are in charge of the reunion stuff. 30 years since I graduated, never been invited to a reunion.