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.
I was bullied in the first grade.
My politically incorrect parents insisted that I confront the bully and punch him in the nose.
I eventually did. The bullying stopped.
No debilitating life-long effects so far as I can tell.
Waitaminute. You're not advocating VIOLENCE, are you? I may curl up into a little ball at the very thought of it.
Don’t forget, any “bully laws” will be automatically applied to anyone who doesn’t agree with leftists.
Simple, succint and correct. Common Core places a huge emphasis on bullying. Why? It goes hand in hand with their leftist agenda. Repeating for emphasis:
I maintain that a little bullying is not necessarily a bad thing. 'Tis better for people to learn how to deal with a schoolyard bully at age 6, than the same mentality as an adult. Still and all, liberals continue to infantilize anyone any everyone who's not in their clique.
Some of the prior posters have talked about getting shot at by bullies, etc. That's an extreme example,IMO, and moves the bully from "kid who's a PITA" to "mentally unstable person who should be jailed".
Kids who are bullied need to learn how to drive a pencil deep into the eye socket of their tormenter.
The whole anti-bullying thing now is all about criminalizing opposition to homosexuality.
“My name is ‘Sue’....how do you do? Now you’re gonna die!”
Thanks for a sensible and compassionate post.
I suspect some of the people on this thread were bullies.
I was bullied a few times. Sometimes I let it go, sometimes I resisted. I'm proud of the times I resisted, ashamed of the times I backed down.
The ill effects of bullying stem from the victim's recalling his/her passivity, fear, and compliance. It's what we used to call shame.
“. . 30 years since I graduated, never been invited to a reunion.”
I would suspect that you aren’t the only one in that dynamic who hasn’t been “invited” to a reunion by these jealous, petty people. You have a right to go if you want to, just as much as any of them do. - However, judging by my own class; they still have the “rock & roll” bands (LOUD). About an hour in, they turn the lights off (so they don’t have to LOOK into their LYING EYES), then the band fires up and all you can hear after that are drums pounding and “bee bop a lulu”. After 40 yrs., I quit going - should have done sooner; but hubby razzed me about it I think because he wanted to see what his old girlfriends from high school looked like. In the dark, he didn’t see much! We’re at the 50 year mark now; and they can have it to themselves and may they get a bellyfull of each other!! I now go with husband to his high school reunion; that’s about all I can manage.
I was picked on “bullied” by a couple of bigger kids when I was in 8th grade( small). By the time I was a senior beat the hell out of all of them.(grew)
Well, to make matters worse, at the 25th reunion that ‘everyone is invited to!’ I still wasn’t invited. One of the few decent people asked where I was (we communicate via email every once in a blue moon) and was told by the head Heather herself ‘she’s too stuck up to be around us!, she’s never been to one, she’s never even replied to an invitation’.
Said decent person chastised me for ‘holding petty grudges’. When I informed him I’d never been invited he was speechless...Firstly that I’d been deliberately excluded from every single one and secondly that the head Heather told the ‘truth’ in such a way as to make me the ahole. He finally sees what was going on in JR high and HS all along...
I can honestly say that after 30 years of being conspicuously excluded by the organizers I wouldn’t attend one now. Not to mention that I’d have no idea where to send the reservation monies and such. Plus, having not seen most of these people for 30 years I’m not sure I’d really remember any of them.
I know of a case just like that.
Wow. NPR reported on this? There’s a shocker. The home of emasculated hipsters and Garrison Keeler.
I was bullied. Everyone was bullied. One I cracked in the face with a tennis racket. The other got arrested and kicked out of school when he was busted for drugs. A few others who knows. I doubt they amounted to much.
Which is why you must take the earliest opportunity to pop the bully in the nose.
Yes, I’m advocating violence against violent bullies.
It’s what they understand.
They told you not to be a tattletale, yet would punish you for standing up for yourself.
My oldest daughter has Asperger’s. When she was in school, a black kid sitting behind her was sticking her with pin stuck in a eraser. I mention the race for a reason which will become apparent.
Anyway, she told us, and we told the teachers. They interviewed her, and said that she said she “loved” him. That's because, as Christians we had taught her to “love her enemies”.
The thing is, she always wanted to say what people wanted to hear, and what the teachers wanted to hear was that there wasn’t a real problem. A teacher who was a friend of the family told us that they didn't want to have to discipline the kid because of his ethnicity.
I don't doubt that they believed there wasn't a problem, because they didn't want there to be a problem. But a problem there was.
It wasn't until the class room teacher actually caught the boy in the act that something was done about it with the kid being removed form the classroom and assigned to another school.
Years later, a kid with the same name was murdered in some kind of gang fight. I don't know that it was the same person, though.
My point, though, is that the educators don't want anything to disturb their idyllic existence. It's too much trouble to separate the sheep from the goats for them. If a fight breaks out, expel them both, no trying to find the aggressor.
what a country.
Don’t get me wrong. I was bullied too. And if I ran into Wayne Ortenburger today I’d punch his teeth in. But the article is talking about creating a whole new class of people who will not-surprisingly require all the features of a new bureaucracy and billions of more dollars of Federal intrusion. And (also not surprisingly) more govt jobs for the article writer and her Therapeutic State cronies.
Understood...and if I saw Curtis E. and Vincent V. today, I’d be doing what I mentioned as well...and I do mean within an inch of their life...
And I agree with your assessment...
I think you’d probably be surprised how many times over the years situations similar to yours and mine have happened; due to jealous, petty people who snatch a little bit of power and use it to punish and lie for years. - IF you run into any of them, or if I do; I’d suggest just holding up your head and being as pleasant as possible. - Meantime, the best revenge is being sincerely happy. (Remember, these snotty people have no power to buy your groceries, make your house payments, buy your clothes or anything else. In my case, it was a whole GROUP of snotty clique who got mad that I was elected to anything they THOUGHT belonged to them and proceeded to try and punish me. Well, KIND would have been better; so sorry they didn’t see it that way; although I do think a few of the boys regretted the way they allowed those few snotty girls to lead them around by the nose.) I don’t blame you for not wanting to do anything regarding your bully situation that you either don’t enjoy or that makes you uncomfortable.
That is correct. And when the leftist teachers unions get around to "responding" to this study, they will develop a typically perverse methodology to reward the bullies and persecute the victims even more.