a woman suffering from the health effects of bullying

The Health Effects of Bullying

There’s no doubt that bullying is a serious problem that can emotionally cripple students throughout their school years, but new studies now show that the health effects of bullying don’t simply stop at graduation. The mental and physical health problems associated with bullying are real, long-lasting, and should be a cause for concern—and action.

Physical Health Problems

According to a study from Duke University, victims of bullying have higher levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP, in their blood. CRP is a biomarker that is often an indication of health problems down the road—including things like cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. It’s believed that high levels of CRP are linked to stressful situations, and what’s troubling about this is that these high levels can persist throughout school and well into adulthood.

Mental Health Problems

In a comprehensive study conducted in 2005, researchers found that students who have been the victims of bullying have a significantly higher risk of developing depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. These problems were also shown to persist well into adulthood, once again exemplifying that the repercussions of bullying are far-reaching and long-lasting.

Effects on Bullies

Bullying is not just an unhealthy experience for those being bullied—it’s also detrimental for those on the other side of the aggression. Bullies have been shown to have rates of depression in adulthood similar to the rates experienced by those who were bullied. Similarly, bullies are also at a higher risk of alcoholism in the future.

Effects on Cognitive Function

In a study from England conducted over four decades, researchers found that the cognitive functions, including things like memory and recall, were significantly lower for subjects who were bullied in school as opposed to those who weren’t. These cognitive disadvantages were among a whole host of things that were discovered to be caused by bullying, including lower socioeconomic status and educational attainment.

Last Updated: September 04, 2015