For decades, a research team at King’s College London has been tracking a group of 7,771 people from England, Scotland and Wales who were all born in the same week in 1958. At age 7 and 11, their parents were asked to provide information on whether the children had been bullied. More than one in four had occasionally been bullied, while 15% were bullied frequently. Then later in life, the participants were asked to check in periodically and provide feedback on their health.
What the researchers found was shocking: At age 50, those who had been frequently bullied as a child were much more likely to have depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and poor physical health than those who were not. In addition, they were less likely to have higher education degrees, high-paying jobs, romantic partners or social support. Even when childhood intelligence levels were taken into account, these adults also scored lower on cognitive IQ tests. In general, they reported lower quality of life and satisfaction.
"The impact of bullying is persistent and pervasive, with health, social and economic consequences lasting well into adulthood," said Ryu Takizawa, the lead author of the paper.