Adults who both bullied and were bullies as children develop worse health problems than those who were not bullied or victims who never bullied others, according to a study published online last week in Psychological Science.
Researchers interviewed more than 1,400 North Carolina students at ages 9, 11, and 13 and then later as adults. They found that so-called “bully-victims” were twice as likely as those who weren’t bullied to have difficulty holding a job and six times more likely to have a serious illness, smoke regularly, or have a psychiatric disorder. The researchers suggest this may be because aggressive students find less support to recover when they become victims themselves, or because long-term bullying may lead victims to become bullies. By contrast, “pure bullies” did not grow up with health or career problems.
A version of this article appeared in the August 28, 2013 edition of Education Week as Bullying