We’ve blogged about bullying several times in recent posts – including looking at the impact of peers on stemming bullying behavior and using technology to reduce bullying. Unfortunately, the occurrence of bullying, with one in four students reporting being victims, is all too common itself. The importance of preventing such cruelty is intuitive, but some recent research has yielded data that highlights the seriousness of this issue.
In an article published late last year in JAMA Psychiatry, a team of researchers from Finland and Israel looked back at data collected in 1989, when over 5,000 eight-year-olds in Finland were surveyed about their experiences, or lack thereof, with bullying. The researchers then looked at national health records to see if these same children went on to receive treatment for psychiatric disorders when they were between the ages of 16 and 29 years old. They found that being bullied when young correlated, after adjusting for other factors linked to psychiatric risk, with nearly twice the risk of needing psychiatric treatment later in life. It is also interesting to note that most of the eight-year-olds who bullied others had existing psychiatric symptoms at that time as well as later. This suggests that incidents of bullying should be red flags for both the victims’ and the perpetrators’ need for help.
Photo credit: One Way Stock via flickr cc