London: Exposure to bullying as a child may lead to psychiatric disorders in adulthood that require medical intervention, a study among Finnish children finds.
Andre Sourander from University of Turku, Finland, and co-authors examined associations between bullying behaviour at age 8 and adult psychiatric outcomes by age 29.
Study participants who were bullies and exposed to bullying at age 8 had a high risk for several psychiatric disorders that required treatment when they were adults.
The treatment of any psychiatric disorder was associated with frequent exposure to bullying, as well as with being a bully and being exposed to bullying.
Exposure to bullying was associated with depression, according to the results.
The study used data from 5,034 Finnish children and assessments of bullying and exposure to bullying were based on information from the children, their parents and teachers.
About 90 percent of study participants did not engage in bullying behaviour and, of those, 11.5 percent had received a psychiatric diagnosis by follow-up.
In comparison, 20 percent of participants who engaged in frequent bullying, 23 percent participants frequently exposed to bullying, and 31 percent participants who both frequently engaged in and were frequently exposed to bullying had psychiatric diagnoses by follow-up, according to the results.
The study was published online in JAMA Psychiatry.