A new study has revealed that bullying leaves a long terms scar on the lives of both those who were bullied and the bullies themselves. Researchers at Warwick University and Duke University tracked 1.273 children into adulthood and measured everything from substance abuse, criminality, income, education, mental illnesses like depression and family functioning. The study found that both groups had significantly worse outcomes across these assessments than the general population. The researchers believe that this may be down to the physiological effects of bullying on immune and stress systems. Bullying is often cited as a major component of Boarding School Syndrome.
For many of those who were bullied or for the bullies themselves, the results of this study will come as little surprise. They are both victims. The expression “hurt people hurt people” captures this tragic dynamic where those already in pain visit that pain on others (who often themselves are struggling). And so it goes, around and around. Much is being done to address bullying and it is a welcome development but there is much left still to be done. Cyber bullying in particular has been cited as the reason for several recent suicides of schoolchildren. If your life has been marked by bullying don’t let it eat you up – get in touch with a therapist of organisation such as http://www.stopbullying.gov/