Childhood bullying can lead to long term health consequences, including general and mental health issues, behavioral problems, eating disorders, smoking, alcohol use, and homelessness, a study by the Crime Victims' Institute at Sam Houston State University found.
"What is apparent from these results is that bullying victimization that occurs early in life may have significant and substantial consequences for those victims later in life," said Leana Bouffard, Director of the Crime Victims' Institute. "Thus, the adverse health consequences of victimization are much more far-reaching than just immediate injury or trauma. Understanding these long term consequences is important to assessing the true toll of crime on its victims and on society as well as responding to victims more effectively."
The study, "The Long Term Health Consequences of Bullying Victimization," recommends investing in victim services and effective prevention programs, such as the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, a school based initiative for violence prevention. Programs can help address the immediate trauma, both mental and physical, that victims experience. The full report can be found at http://www.crimevictimsinstitute.org/publications/.
"This type of investment may also have the added benefit of reducing the long-term deleterious effects identified in this and other studies, thus reducing the high cost of victimization born by the victims themselves, the health care system and society in general," Bouffard said.