The immediate consequences of childhood bullying — tearstained cheeks, vacant stares and loss of self-confidence, to name a few — are nothing to scoff at. But now, scientific research indicates bullied children are also significantly more likely to suffer negative outcomes later in life, such as going to jail.
The new data comes from a study done by University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor Michael Turner, “Repeat Bully Victimizations and Legal Outcomes in a National Sample: The Impact Over the Life Course,” which he presented Thursday at the annual American Psychological Association convention in Hawaii.
“Almost 14 percent of people who said they were bullied repeatedly in childhood and their teens had been in prison, compared to 6 percent of people who weren't bullied,” Nancy Shute reported for NPR.
The Los Angeles Times’ Mary MacVean wrote that Turner’s work “is the first to look at bullying throughout childhood and adolescence and the legal consequences. The research showed that women who were chronically bullied till adulthood faced a greater chance than men of using drugs or alcohol and of being convicted of a crime. Repeated bullying throughout young life was associated with substance abuse and delinquency, and there were few differences across race categories.”
Last year the Deseret News reported about the harrowing documentary “Bully” and its corresponding publicity campaign to raise awareness about adolescent bullying.