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18-07-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 9/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 9/2019

Consequences of Childhood Bullying on Mental Health and Relationships for Young Adults

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 9/2019
Ellen W. deLara
Belangrijke opmerkingen
A correction to this article is available online at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10826-019-01515-4.


Childhood bullying is a well-known public health problem world-wide. Research has described numerous health and mental health effects on victims, bullies, and bystanders. While there are studies of contemporaneous consequences, there is still much to be discovered in terms of the impact of childhood bullying lasting into adult life. This qualitative inquiry investigated the aftermath of childhood bullying for young adults in terms of their health, mental health, and relationship issues. Further, it asked participants for their definitions of bullying. The study was part of a mixed-methods inquiry. For the qualitative portion, 72 graduate and undergraduate students in the U.S., ages 18 to 29, participated as a purposive sample. The majority of participants were Caucasian and female, though 28% percent represented minority groups. Semi-structured interviews were conducted lasting approximately 1 h each. A participatory action research approach was taken to understand the lived experiences and perceptions of the young adults. Grounded theory was utilized in reviewing the data for thematic responses. Member checks and triangulation were employed to substantiate credibility, authenticity, and coherence of the data. Content analysis revealed lasting consequences in (a) mental and psychological well-being (b) eating disorders, weight, and body image, and (c) relationship and trust issues. Results are indicative of the need for further research on childhood bullying as it affects later adolescent and young adult development. Understanding the aftermath of childhood bullying is important in informing bullying interventions and maintaining a focus on early prevention efforts.

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