The effects of bullying last beyond the time it occurs and can carry over into the future health and well-being of children.
A study in the March 2014 issue of Pediatrics, “Peer Victimization in Fifth Grade and Health in Tenth Grade,” (published online Feb. 17) surveyed 4,297 children at three time points (fifth, seventh and 10th grade).
The authors found that any bullying at any age was associated with worse mental and physical health, increased depressive symptoms and lower self-worth. But children who experienced bullying in the past and were also experiencing bullying in the present showed the lowest health scores. Researchers found that recent events may be more important than distant ones, and that health consequences compound over time and may remain even after the bullying ends.
The authors conclude that this study reinforces the importance of early intervention to stop bullying and to be aware of the need to intervene again, even if the bullying is not ongoing, to address the persistent effects.