ABN Homepage.

 

Click to visit the University of Edinburgh website

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to go back!

Is there a link between childhood bullying behaviour and anti-social behaviour in later years?

A few studies have found a link between bullying and aggressive behaviour in childhood and later problem behaviour such as criminality and alcohol abuse (for example Loeber and Dishion, 1983; Magnusson, Stattin and Dunér, 1983). A Swedish study by Dan Olweus in 1993 supported this link. He found that approximately 60% of boys described as bullies in grades 6-9 had been convicted of at least one crime by the age of 24. What is more, 35% - 40%of these boys who had bullied in school, had, by their mid twenties, three or more criminal convictions.
.........................................

Article details

D Olweus (1999) 'Sweden' in P K Smith and others (editors) 'The Nature of School Bullying: a cross-national perspective', London: Routledge. Click the book graphic to buy this book online.
.........................................

Author details

Professor Dan Olweus was the first person to carry out a thorough research project on Professor Dan Olweusbullying. This large, long term study which began in Sweden in 1970, was to provide the inspiration for many who felt that bullying in schools should be challenged rather than accepted. Since the 1970s, his work in this area had continued with force. Indeed, in 1997-99, he led a group in a large project which introduced the widely respected Olweus (anti-bullying) programme to schools in Norway. Professor Olweus is based at the Research Centre for Health Promotion, University of Bergen in Norway and can be contacted by email.

Scandinavian studies found that children (especially boys) who bullied others were particularly likely to be involved in other anti-social behaviour such as shoplifting and drug abuse. The studies also found that this anti-social behaviour often continued into adulthood. Approximately 60% of boys who were described by teachers and peers as being bullies had at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24 compared to 23% of boys who had not been described as bullies. Even more disturbing was the finding that 35-40% of these bullies had 3 or more criminal convictions by this age, compared to 10% of those who had not been described as bullies.
.........................................

Article details

D Olweus, S Limber and S F Mihalic 'History and Description of the Bullying Prevention Program' in 'Blueprints for Violence Prevention', The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado at Boulder, USA. This paper can be downloaded here.

The information in this paper was taken from D Olweus, S Limber and S F Mihalic (1999) 'Blueprints for Violence Prevention. Book Nine: Bullying Prevention Program', Boulder, CO: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.
.........................................

Author details

Professor Dan Olweus was the first person to carry out a thorough research project on Professor Dan Olweusbullying. This large, long term study which began in Sweden in 1970, was to provide the inspiration for many who felt that bullying in schools should be challenged rather than accepted. Since the 1970s, his work in this area had continued with force. Indeed, in 1997-99, he led a group in a large project which introduced the widely respected Olweus (anti-bullying) programme to schools in Norway. Professor Olweus is based at the Research Centre for Health Promotion, University of Bergen in Norway and can be contacted by email.

A 5 year UK study found a possible link between bullying behaviour in school and later violent behaviour. It was found that from a group of 50 pupils (boys and girls) who were disruptive but not bullies,17 had criminal convictions (with a total of 33 offences, including 4 which involved violence). However, a group of 50 pupils who were disruptive and bullies, had a much higher number of criminal convictions - 31 had 162 convictions and 36 of these offences involved violence. A 22 year study carried out in the US found that boys who were described by peers as being very aggressive (displaying bullying behaviour), have a much higher chance of becoming criminals by the age of 30 (a 1 in 4 chance) than others (who have a 1 in 20 chance). It was also found that in later life, these boys were aggressive towards their wives and children and tended to have children who behaved aggressively.
.........................................

Article details

D Tattum (1993) 'Child, school and family', in 'Understanding and Managing Bullying', edited by D Tattum; Oxford: Heinemann Educational Books Limited.
.........................................

Back to Top