Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick and William E. Copeland of Duke University Medical Center reported new research that concludes the most effective method of reducing the long term effects of bullying is to treat the bully in the Aug. 19, 2013, issue of the journal Psychological Science.
The conclusion is the result of the examination of long term life effects of bullying that followed 1,420 children who were bullied, were bullies, or were both bully and the victim of bullying from nine years of age to 25 years of age.
Bullies had minor problems with psychiatric or social issues in later life. People who were bullied were more prone to have mental, emotional, and physical problems that extended into adulthood.
People who were both bully and victim were shown to be the most at risk group for criminal prosecutions and major social problems throughout their life.
The researchers liken bullying to a viral disease. The bully instigates the onset of the disease. The bully-victim becomes an accessory to bullying behavior to avoid the consequences of the disease and attain a sense of power and control. The bullied are the prey of the disease.
The researchers recommend treating the bully first in order to prevent the chain of bullying progression.