3 Ways Childhood Bullying Destroys Adult Lives, Too

No one doubts that bullying is traumatic for children, but fewer people realize that the harms of bullying can linger in a person for the rest of their lives. Research shows that adults who were once victims of bullying are more likely to be both mentally and physically unhealthy than their peers who avoided being bullied during their formative years. Getting out of school might help free teenagers from their tormentors, but graduation doesn’t solve these problems:

1. Increased Rates of Depression

The latest study finds that the dark days are not over for bullying victims even after they’ve matured; nearly one-third of all cases of adult depression can be linked back to childhood bullying. The study followed thousands of kids from a young age, with 36 percent experiencing bullying during their preteen and teen years. Checking in with the subjects’ mental health as adults, researchers discovered that while 5 percent of adults were now depressed altogether, 15 percent of the people who had been bullied were now coping with the disorder. What’s more, their bouts of depression lasted longer than the non-bullied adults.

2. Increased Chance of Obesity and Having Diabetes

A shaken mental health inevitably manifests in poor physical side effects as well. A separate study conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London uncovered that bullied kids are significantly more likely to develop type 2 diabetes once they are adults. Unfortunately, their waistlines also expanded. Women were especially at risk for gaining weight following adolescent bullying. 26 percent of women who were bullied as girls qualified as obese, compared to just 19 percent of non-bullied girls.

3. A Shorter Life Span

Looking at the other problems associated with adolescent bullying, it’s probably not a surprise at this point that adults who were once bullied die younger than their peers. Researchers attribute the stress that the kids have to face from bullying to inflammation, which can cause strokes and heart attacks. Even if it has been many years since the trauma occurred, former victims of bullying are still more likely to commit suicide, too. Combining all these factors, it’s no wonder that bullied individuals don’t tend to live as long as those who avoid this persecution.

From these studies, it’s clear that officials need to look at bullying as not only a horrible childhood epidemic, but also a public health issue for adults. While anti-bullying campaigns are great, they’re not enough to tackle this problem. To protect their students’ future health, schools should seek out the victims of bullies and offer counseling services to help them through their feelings surrounding the bullying. This intervention might not save everyone, but it could certainly make a difference in sparing victims from depression or adverse health effects.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

71 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey2 years ago

Thanks.

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Olga Troyan
Olga Troyan2 years ago

And what if I was bullied by my schoolmates, but didn't care much? I just felt, that it was stupid, nothing more.

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Julie Cannon
Julie C2 years ago

I was bullied during my school years. Not physically but verbally. I'm in my 30's and their words still hurt me to this day.

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Janis K.
Janis K2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha Russell2 years ago

Thank you

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Ricky Thamman
Ricky T2 years ago

If childhood physical issues lead to problems in adulthood, why can't mental? It's not something you cure or drop, and even worse in the modern age with online/social media bullying!

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Kevin S.
Kevin Sexton2 years ago

I kind of feel like childhood bullying leading into physical and emotional disorders is self-explanatory. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget my past.

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Wonder Girl
Rekha S2 years ago

Thank you for sharing

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Wonder Girl
Rekha S2 years ago

I hate bullies, the cowards should blow themselves up period.

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