A recent study looked at the long-term effects of childhood bullying in later life. Using a longitudinal database that studied children from ages 9 through adulthood, it was determined that bullying has a major impact on adult health, wealth, and engaging in criminal and risky behavior.

The researchers divided participants into 4 groups: (1) those who had never been bullies or bullied, (2) victims/targets of bullies; (3) pure bullies [those who bullied others, but who had not been bullied themselves], and (4) bully-victims – children who had been bullied, but also bullied others.

The results clearly showed the long-term negative effects of bullying. Bullies and victims had poorer adult health than the non-bullied. Those showing the poorest health outcomes were the bully-victims. In terms of engaging in criminal or risky behaviors (e.g., drug use, risky sex), bullies and bully victims had higher rates as adults (the victims of bullies did not show higher rates of criminal or risky behavior).

How about wealth and social functioning? All 3 groups involved in bullying had poorer educational attainment and less income than adults who had not been involved in bullying. These results clearly show that there are long-term negative physical, psychological, and economic outcomes of childhood bullying.

This research will be published in Psychological Science and is available on-line at:


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