Studies suggest that victims of bullying and bullies themselves, are more likely to experience psychiatric problems in childhood. Researchers have found that elevated risk of psychiatric difficulties extends into adulthood. Unfortunately, the psychiatric problems impact the quality of life for both the victim and person engaging in the bullying.
The research study found that victims of bullying in childhood were 4.3 times more likely to have an anxiety disorder as adults, compared to those with no history of bullying or being bullied. Individuals engaging in bullying who were also victims were 14.5 times more likely to develop panic disorder as adults, compared to those who did not experience bullying, and 4.8 times more likely to experience depression. Men who were both bullies and victims were 18.5 times more likely to have had suicidal thoughts in adulthood. Their female counterparts were 26.7 times more likely to have developed agoraphobia, compared to children not exposed to bullying.
Bullies who were not victims of bullying were 4.1 times more likely to have antisocial personality disorder as adults than those never exposed to bullying in their youth. In addition, the study demonstrated that being a victim of bullying or a bully can create emotional issues for both of these groups of individuals ten years later.
Sadly, bullying inflicts long-term psychiatric damage that is similar to patterns observed when a child is abused or maltreated or treated very harshly within the family environment. Sadly, many of the children engaging in bullying may be experiencing or witnessing a hostile environment at home. Oftentimes, these children externalize the pain and hurt they are experiencing onto another victim as a way to feel a sense of control and empowerment in a disempowering situation or environment.
The school environment should be a safe one for our children. It is society’s duty to protect our children. Help should be offered to the victim and child engaging in bullying as the ramifications of this experience is great. The psychiatric disorders that negatively impact our children who later become adults can affect every facet of their life. Early intervention should be provided to reduce or ameliorate the negative impacts of bullying.
Source: CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS
A.C.T. will provide free resource information for individuals and families to help promote education. For more information, please contact Dr. Drecun at Dr.Drecun@a4ct.com or (858) 792-3541. You may also visit us online at www.a4ct.com. ACT serves the Del Mar 92014 and Rancho Santa Fe 92067 area.