Were you bullied as a child? If so, have you ever consider how that experience is affecting you TODAY?
LA Times writer Karen Kaplan is reporting on new research showing that the victims of bullies suffer the psychological consequences all the way until middle age. In fact they have higher levels of depression, anxiety and suicide.
The immediate negative effects of bullying have been well-documented. Studies from Finland have found that people who were bullied as kids continued to suffer as young adults. Girls who were bullied grew up to attempt and commit suicide more frequently by the age of 25, and boys were more likely to develop anxiety disorders.
The new study has looked at the long-term picture. Scientists examined data on roughly 18,000 people who were born in England, Scotland in 1958 and then were tracked periodically up through the age of 50.
The researchers found that people who were bullied either occasionally or frequently continued to suffer higher levels of psychological distress decades after the bullying occurred.
They were more likely to be depressed, to say their general health as poor, and to have worse cognitive functioning. In addition, those who were bullied frequently had a greater risk of anxiety disorders and suicide.
The consequences of bullying were economic as well. Those who had been bullied frequently had fewer years of schooling than their peers. Men in this group were more likely to be unemployed; if they had jobs, their earnings were typically lower.
Adults who were bullied as kids were also more socially isolated too. At age 50, bullying victims were less likely to be married and less likely to have friends or family to lean on if they got sick. Overall, they felt their quality of life was worse than people who hadn’t been bullied. Those who had been frequent victims were less optimistic that their lives would get better in the future.
If you were bullied as a child, I’d encourage you to contact one of the caring Christian counselors at Focus on the Family. Their number is 1-800-A-FAMILY.I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.