Parents now have another reason to protect their children from a problem that has been getting a lot of attention in recent years: bullying. That’s because there’s a new study that suggests school bullying increases the chances of mental health issues and unemployment later on in life. Victims of peer-to-peer bullying in their elementary and middle school years not only suffer consequences that are detrimental to their health during their childhood years but as adults, too.
A study by a team of researchers at the Lancaster University Management School found that kids who were the victims of persistent bullying suffered worrying consequences later on in their lives. Led by Dr. Emma Gorman and Professor Ian Walker, of the Lancaster University Department of Economics, along with research partners Silvia Mendolia, of the University of Wollongong, and Colm Harmon and Anita Staneva, of the University of Sydney, the team found that many victims had mental health problems as adults.
Bullying increased the probability of kids not only developing mental and social issues and health problems as adults, but also increased their chances of unemployment, too. For those who suffered from bullying as kids, the probability of unemployment at age 25 increased by about 35 percent, compared to those who were not as persistently bullied. It also reduced their income by around 2 percent.
Co-author Dr. Gorman says that while bullying is a widespread problem that a lot of kids deal with on a daily basis, their study found that there was a negative relationship between bullying and mental health issues in adulthood. She explained in a statement to the press, “Bullying is also an important policy issue because of concern that in addition to educational outcomes, being bullied may lead to negative impacts on young people's lives in the long-term, such as low self-esteem, mental health conditions, and poorer job prospects.”
The team’s research also proved that bullying is not a short-term problem. While many kids manage to deal with their bullies with the help of a teacher, school administrator, or even family and friends, the negative experience impacts them later on in lives.
Some examples of persistent bullying include name calling, being excluded from social events or cliques being threatened by violence or experiencing violence. Bullying also affects a student’s academic achievement during their high school and college years, too.