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Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2013 Dec;59(8):824-6. doi: 10.1177/0020764012456814. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

Having been bullied in childhood: relationship to aggressive behaviour in adulthood.

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  • 11Departments of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine at Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio, USA.



Victimization through being bullied in childhood is traditionally associated with subsequent internalizing symptoms, but some literature suggests otherwise. In this study, we examined a history of being bullied in relationship to 21 externalized aggressive behaviours in adulthood.


Using a cross-sectional approach and a self-report survey methodology, we examined a history of being bullied in childhood in relation to 21 aggression variables in a consecutive sample of 342 internal medicine outpatients.


In comparison with the not bullied, participants who reported having been bullied in childhood had a statistically significantly greater overall number of self-reported aggressive behaviours. Longer duration of being bullied was statistically significantly correlated with a greater number of reported aggressive behaviours. With regard to individual behaviours, four were statistically significantly associated with being bullied: hitting walls; intentionally breaking things; getting into fist fights; and pushing/shoving a partner.


While relationships between bullying in childhood and subsequent internalizing symptoms have been well established, the present study indicates that bullying in childhood is also associated with externalizing/aggressive behaviours in adulthood.


Aggression; bully; bully victim; bullying; externalizing behaviour

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