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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;43(12):1163-70. doi: 10.3109/00048670903270399.

Does school bullying affect adult health? Population survey of health-related quality of life and past victimization.

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Flinders University of South Australia, and Southern Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, Adelaide, SA 5042, Australia.



The purpose of the present study was to determine the proportion of adult South Australians who report having experienced school bullying and to examine the relationship between past victimization and adult health-related quality of life.


A representative sample (n=2833) of metropolitan and country South Australian adults were asked in a face-to-face interview whether they had experienced bullying when they were at school. Health-related quality of life was measured using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36-item health survey questions (SF-36). Regression analyses (linear and logistic) were performed, taking into account survey weights.


Nearly one-fifth of adults reported having experienced bullying when they were at school. Older persons and those born overseas were less likely to report having been bullied. Those reporting that they had been bullied experienced significantly poorer mental and physical health compared to those who had not been bullied.


Adults commonly reported experiencing bullying while at school and these reports were associated with lower health-related quality of life in adulthood. School bullying needs further investigation as a preventable cause of mental health problems across the lifespan.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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