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Negative Long-Term Impact of School Bullying: Synthesizing Data from Longitudinal Studies

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Elizabeth C Blake.

Scientific interest in the problem of childhood bullying and its negative short-term and long-term effects emerged after the well-publicized suicides of three Norwegian boys in 1982, which were attributed to severe peer bullying (Olweus, 1993). Early longitudinal research on victims of school bullying suggested that they were likely to have poor mental health later in life compared with non-victimized students. Very few pioneering longitudinal studies also suggested that involvement of children in bullying is at least an early risk marker of adult criminality (e.g. Farrington, 1993).

This presentation synthesizes results from two systematic reviews and meta-analyses. First, results are presented from a systematic review and meta-analysis that establishes the link between bullying perpetration at school and offending behaviour later is life. The probability of offending up to 11 years later was much higher for school bullies than for non-involved students even after controlling for other major childhood risk factors (OR = 1.82, 95% CI: 1.55 – 2.14). Then, results are presented on the link between bullying victimization at school and depression later in life. Again, we found that bullying victimization was a significant risk factor for later depression even after controlling for major childhood risk factors (OR = 1.74; 95% CI: 1.54 – 1.97).

Implications for policy and practice from the findings of our research are highlighted. The results of these systematic reviews support that effective anti-bullying programmes should be promoted. They could be viewed as a form of early crime prevention as well as an early form of public health promotion.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Lunchtime Seminar Series - Wednesdays of Full Term series.

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