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Negative Consequences

Anger and Frustration Adults often focus on the negative consequences of bullying for the victim. However, research shows that school bullying can lead to many negative consequences for both the child being bullied, and the child exhibiting the bullying behavior. Youth who bully others experience immediate emotions and consequences, but they also experience long-lasting negative effects as they get older.

Children who exhibit bullying behaviors are likely to continue bullying others as they get older. In fact, research suggests that there is a link between school bullying and aggressive or violent behaviors later in life (Ttofi, Farrington, and Lösel, 2012). Studies also show that adults involved in violent crimes often have a background of school bullying (Luukkonen et al., 2011).

TargetsMental health concerns are also associated with bullying behavior; youth who bully others are more likely to develop depression when they are older as compared to peers who were not involved in school bullying (Ttofi et al., 2011). They are also more likely to struggle with substance abuse problems in adolescence and adulthood (Kim et al., 2011).

If a child continues to bully others, they may experience many of the negative consequences described above like criminal activity, dropping out of school, drug and alcohol problems, and depression. However, if we are able to correct the bullying behavior these youth can go on to lead much happier and healthier lives.


Kim, M. J., Catalano, R. F., Haggerty, K. P., & Abbott, R. D. (2011). Bullying at elementary school and problem behaviour in young adulthood: A study of bullying, violence and substance use from age 11 to age 21. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 21, 136–144.

Luukkonen, A. H., Riala, K., Hakko, H., & Rasanen, P. (2011). Bullying behaviour and criminality: A population-based follow-up study of adolescent psychiatric inpatients in Northern Finland. Forensic Science International, 207, 106–110.

Ttofi, M. M., Farrington, D. P., & Lösel, F. (2012). School bullying as a predictor of violence later in life: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective longitudinal studies. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17, 405-418.

Ttofi, M. M., Farrington, D. P., Lösel, F., & Loeber, R. (2011). Do the victims of school bullies tend to become depressed later in life? A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 3(2), 63–73.