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Aug 02, 2013 06:38 AM EDT

People Harassed in Childhood More Likely to End up in Prison, Study

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People who were frequently bullied throughout their childhood and teenage are more likely to end up in prison than people who were not harassed, according to a study conducted by the researchers from the University of Carolina. The study found that victims of bullying faced more arrests and convictions.

The findings were presented at the American Psychological Association's 121st Annual Convention.

The researchers stated that almost 14 percent of the people who claimed they were tormented during their childhood and teen years went to prison as adults, when compared to the six percent of people who were not tyrannized, nine percent of those who were only browbeaten as children and seven percent of teen victims.

 When the researchers looked into the conviction rates, more than 20 percent of those who experienced constant bullying were pronounced guilty of crimes, which is almost double than those who were not harassed.

The study also found that white childhood victims faced more prison time than non-white victims.

"Previous research has examined bullying during specific time periods, whereas this study is the first to look at individuals' reports of bullying that lasted throughout their childhood and teen years, and the legal consequences they faced in late adolescence and as adults," said Doctor Michael Turner, of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of North Carolina in the United States.

The results also revealed that women who were tormented from childhood through their teens ended up being alcohol or drug addicts. They were also predicted to suffer more arrests and convictions than men who had similar childhood and teen experiences.

Turner arrived at the conclusion after analyzing statistics from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Justice. The survey comprised of 7,335 people from age 12 to 16 as of December 31st, 1996.

'This study highlights the important role that health care professionals can play early in a child's life when bullying is not adequately addressed by teachers, parents or guardians. With appropriate questions during routine medical check-ups, they can be critical first points of contact for childhood victims. Programmes that help children deal with the adverse impacts of repeated bullying could make the difference in whether they end up in the adult legal system," Turner said.

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