Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination increases levels of Psychological Distress

A recent report shows that children who have been bullied in childhood are still affected after 40 years.

Bullying NaomiMcLaughlan.com

The American Journal of Psychiatry (2014) conducted a study on Adult Health Outcomes of Childhood Bullying Victimization, with data of 5 decades and reported “Participants who were bullied in childhood had increased levels of psychological distress at ages 23 and 50. Victims of frequent bullying had higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidality than their nonvictimized peers… Childhood bullying victimization was associated with a lack of social relationships, economic hardship, and poor perceived quality of life at age 50.”

The American Journal of Psychiatry (2014) study report concluded that  “Children who are bullied—and especially those who are frequently bullied—continue to be at risk for a wide range of poor social, health, and economic outcomes nearly four decades after exposure. Interventions need to reduce bullying exposure in childhood and minimize long-term effects on victims’ well-being; such interventions should cast light on causal processes.”

Please be aware that views like “what people do or say in the privacy of their own homes is up to them”, can greatly influence our children, who might carry whatever they have heard outside the home and share innocently with their friends at school or elsewhere. If those comments are discriminative or similarly negative harassment or victimisation towards a group of people or a single person, it can lead to adverse effects on the child and the other person involved. So between adults sharing thoughts might be alright, but if children are in close proximity it might not be advisable to do so, as they might use the same words or behaviours outside.  Talking behind someone’s back cultivates negative attitudes and perceptions against the person, instead being a positive role model, early intervention and positive actions can increase the chances of reducing discrimination within our society.

Bullying can have many effects, some of them are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Health issues
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Stress

Special Needs

Children with special educational needs are twice as likely to be bullied, discovered a study published by London University’s Institute of Education.  Seven-year-olds with special educational needs interviewed for the study, claimed they were being bullied “all of the time”, 12 % versus 6% of their non-disabled peer group. Teenager and young adults are more likely to be physically harassed, ‘called names’ and socially excluded by peers.

Dual Discrimination and Multiple Discrimination

Adults and especially children can often fall victim of dual or multiple discrimination, which is basically an even more disrupting form of bullying. To give an example of dual discrimination; A girl with a mixed heritage background being discriminated against on the grounds of gender and ethnicity or race. Multiple discrimination; A disabled and gay boy with a minority ethnic background being discriminated against on the grounds of his sexual orientation, disability and ethnicity.

The dual and multiple issues in terms of discrimination seem to be widespread, but less often talked about.Bullying 2 Naomi Mc Laughlan


Telling jokes and making inappropriate comments at Work and in Business

The Government Equality Office in the UK,  advises businesses on the Equality Act and the requirements and responsibilities, not only in regards to staff but also towards customers and clients and the way they behave toward each other and state (2010) “… you will be responsible if other customers’ behaviour has been brought to your attention and you failed to act….”

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights or FRA has identified two additional terms ‘Additive’ and ‘Intersectional’ in relation to multiple discrimination.

FRA (2013) notes “Multiple discrimination takes place when someone is discriminated against for more than one reason, for example on the basis of gender and religion, age and ethnicity, etc. It can be: Additive: when the specific effects can be distinguished. For instance, an elderly woman may be discriminated against in the workplace because of her sex and in accessing healthcare because of her age; or Intersectional: when discrimination is based on the combination of two or more characteristics. For example, when a Romani woman gives birth in a hospital, she may experience discrimination not only because she is a woman (not all women face such discrimination), and not only as Roma (not all Roma face such a situation), but because of the combination of two characteristics.”

Victimisation NaomiMcLaughlan

To avoid any form of harassment, victimisation or discrimination, for example the use of negative words and descriptions, by employers or co-workers, a policy and special training of the workforce (positive action), is the way to go. Despite the fact that a member of staff might mean no harm, it is still hurtful for the victim to constantly listening to jokes or comments made about them at work or any other place.

The Citizen Advice Bureau UK (n.d.) explains “Your employer isn’t allowed to bully or harass you because of your age. They must also stop other colleagues, and in some cases clients or customers of the business, from doing this. For example, they must stop other people if they make offensive jokes about your age in the workplace.”

The search term ‘Funny Discrimination Jokes’, brought me about 3,590,000 results today on Google – a shocking result!

All the Best,

Naomi x

I appreciate to hear your views, so please leave me your comments below! 


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