A new study has shown that the effects of bullying can last into adulthood.
Duke University researchers found that kids that were bullied tend to make less mentally healthy adults.
It is the first long-term study looking at the effects of bullying through the years.
“We were surprised at how profoundly bullying affects a person’s long-term functioning,” study author, William Copeland, said in a statement, reported the Globe and Mail.
“This psychological damage doesn’t just go away because a person grew up and is no longer bullied. This is something that stays with them. If we can address this now, we can prevent a whole host of problems down the road.”
The study was begun 20 years ago with 1,420 children aged 9, 11 and 13.
The kids were queried annually until age 16 and then returned for assessment at ages 19, 21, and 25.
Before 16 students were asked about their experiences with bullying and then separated into four groups: bullies, victims, a hybrid of both and neither a victim or bully, said Live Science.
Using surveys of the groups' health outcomes, the researchers found that those who had been bullied had higher anxiety levels and difficulties in their personal lives.
Pure bullies did not show the same problems adjusting into adulthood, likely given their comfort with power, said Live Science.
“We were actually able to say being a victim of bullying is having an effect a decade later, above and beyond other psychiatric problems in childhood and other adversities,” said Copeland, reported the New York Times.
The study was published in AMA Psychiatry.