It’s an issue that’s sparked a lot of concern here in Nova Scotia and now there’s new research to suggest the effects of childhood bullying stay with both the victims and the perpetrators later in life.
Researchers at Duke University say kids who are bullied are four times more likely to have anxiety issues as adults like panic disorders or agoraphobia, but the lingering effects of bullying aren’t limited to the victims.
Lead researcher Dr. Bill Copeland says kids who were both victims and bullies were in the highest risk group.
They were 10 times more likely to have suicidal tendencies and five times more likely to suffer depression.
They were also at risk of developing “anti-social personality disorder” which is linked to criminal behaviour.
“Whereas a lot of kids that are bullied feel a fair bit of empathy for other people that are being bullied, these folks see their only way of being part of the social hierarchy at school to kind of lash out at others as well,” said Copeland.
Researchers followed more than 14-hundred children between the ages of nine and 16, until they were age 26.
Copeland says psychiatrists have typically focused on family issues – and not school – as the root of long-term problems.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.