A Project for Better Journalism chapter

A look on kids who bully

It could seem logical that one thinks a bullying situation is over once the antagonizers are confronted by adults or the school administration. However, the reality of it is that there is a long term affect not only on the victim, but the bully. A new study finds that children who were bullies when they were around the age of 8 years old were more likely to develop a psychiatric disorder that needed treatment as an adult, like depressive disorders and substance abuse.

A Finland study surveyed 5,000 children, along with their teachers and parents through questionnares. Every child was then categorized into four groups: the bullies who were not targets of being bullied, bully victims that did not target others, the bully that was experiencing bullying and kids who did not have experiences with being a bully or the bullied. Those kids were then tracked from ages 16 to 29 years old, monitoring the inpatient and outpatient mental health visits in Finland.

Researchers found that ninety percent of the kids were not involved in bullying, and among that group twelve percent were diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder before age thirty. However, twenty percent of those who were the bullies as children experienced a mental disorder that required treatment as a teenager or young adult. The remaining twenty three percent of kids who were occasional victims of bullying sought mental help before the age of thirty.

The category that was found to have the worst mental health conditions were the eight year old bullies who frequently experienced being bullied themselves. The research showed that thirty one percent of these kids had psychiatric issues that needed treatment. This group had the highest rates of depression, anxiety disorders and substance abuse out of all four groups in the study.

The findings on kids who are bullied that often bully others puts that child at much higher risks for impending psychiatric issues that the child is already showing signs of. How a child is raised and what they experience as a child effects the way their brain will develop. This is the stage in a childs life where parents have the biggest affect on a child. Parents and siblings set the environment that kids learn from and adopt behaviors. The elementary years are a time of mental vulnerability where kids are becoming aware of what is right and wrong, if taught to them.