Being bullied at school can have long-term effects

Sad student with glasses in school hallwayResearchers from the UK and Australia analysing Next Steps data have found that being bullied at school can have long-term effects on mental health, income and employment at age 25.

What we asked you and your parents

When you were 14-17 years old, we asked you and your parents if you were bullied. When you were 25, we asked you about your employment and income, and whether you’d gone to university. If you gave us consent to, we have also added information from your education records to the survey information we have collected from you over the years.

What the researchers found

Boys were slightly more likely to report being bullied than girls, and to experience violence. Girls, on the other hand, were more likely to be excluded by a group of schoolmates or called names.

The study team found that bullying had a negative effect on teenagers’ short-term academic achievement (including GCSE and A-Level results) as well as on their long-term mental health, employment and income (at age 25). They noted that the type and intensity of bullying mattered, with a combination of violent and non-violent bullying having the worst impact, compared to having experienced only one or the other.

Why this research matters

Schools, practitioners and policymakers can use this information to increase efforts to prevent school bullying, and target the most persistent cases that risk having the most detrimental long-term impact.

Your contribution to the next survey at age 32 will help us find out more about how bullying at school can impact on adult life, and about links between school bullying and workplace bullying.

Find out more about this research

Adolescent School Bullying Victimization and Later Life Outcomes by Emma Gorman, Colm Harmon, Silvia Mendolia, Anita Staneva and Ian Walker was published in the Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics.

This study is just one example of how Next Steps has been used in research on bullying. You can find out more about what we’ve learned on our website.