The health of those who are bullied as children is affected well into adulthood, a new study shows.
Their bullies, however, had better health than those they bullied and were even in better shape than those who were not victims.
Previous research suggests that bullying can negatively impact the psychological and social development of children.
William E. Copeland and colleagues investigated whether childhood bullying can also impact physical health.
The authors interviewed 1,420 children from North Carolina between ages 9-16 about their experiences with bullying.
Blood tests in these children for C-Reactive Protein (CRP) revealed that levels for bullied children increased with the number of times they were bullied.
A second set of blood assays at ages 19 and 21 revealed that CRP levels remained twice as high in individuals who had been bullied as children than individuals who had not been bullied.
Bullies had CRP levels lower than those who were bullied and those who were not victims.
According to the authors, the results suggest that a child’s role in bullying can serve as either a risk or a protective factor for adult low-grade inflammation which may negatively affect long-term health.
The results of the study, “Childhood bullying involvement predicts low-grade systemic inflammation into adulthood,” are published in PNAS.
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