Long-term effects of childhood bullying

Child bullying victims are at increased risk of suffering from anxiety disorders when they become adults. This is the suggestion of new research published in JAMA Psychiatry, which also demonstrated both bullies and their targets are more likely to experience depression and panic disorder when they grow up.

A team of researchers including Chartered Psychologist Professor Dieter Wolke from the University of Warwick assessed 1,420 study participants between the ages of nine and 16 and claimed the findings show bullying should not be viewed simply as a harmless rite of passage that people go through during their younger years.

The authors stated: "Bullies/victims are at highest risk and are most likely to think about or plan suicide. These problems are associated with great emotional and financial costs to society."

Both victims of bullying and those who incite such behaviour and are subjected to it themselves were found to have raised rates of young adult psychiatric disorders, in addition to increased family hardships and childhood psychiatric disorders.