Back to top

The impact of bullying

Gone are the days that it is acceptable to say that bullying is a 'rite of passage' or 'a part of growing up'. Since the early 90s research on the substantial impact of bullying on both the mental and physical health of a young person has been stark. There is a signifcant amount of research showing both the long and short term impact of bullying. This page aims to show some of the evidence (see the section at the bottom of the page for references).

Young person crying

Most important to remember that bullying is a barrier to learning, can seriously affect victim's mental health and can change the way they feel about themselves well into their adulthood. Research shows that the long term impact of bullying on a victim greatly increases if the bullying continues over a long period of time.

Short-term impact

Children and young people who have experienced bullying are more likely to:

  • Face barriers to learning
  • Miss school (Natcen research below found that at any one time over 16,000 young people aged 11-15 are missing education primarily due to bullying)
  • Be excluded (LSYPE research below found that children that were bullied daily were 3 times more likely to be excluded from school than those that were not bullied)
  • Retaliate
  • Place strain on families/carers
  • Self harm and experience depression
  • Have impaired wellbeing

Long-term impact

King's College London research from 2015 shows the substantial long-term effect of being bullied (especially if they fall into a ‘frequently bullied’ category) where people were more likely to:

  • experience a range mental health issues as an adult including suicide ideation
  • earn less money
  • not be in employment, education or training into adulthood
  • be obese (particularly in women) 
  • gain qualifications
  • not be in stable relationships

Other research shows people who were bullied as children are more likely to:

  • commit or be a victim of domestic violence
  • be homeless

Research from University of Warwick and Duke Medical Centre suggests that the long term impact of bullying may even be worse than that of child abuse.

03 Jun 2017