Why #SpiritDay is important: Long-term effects of bullying

A new study has demonstrated the long-term effects of bullying and the importance of anti-bullying programs, such as Spirit Day, when millions of people will wear purple to oppose bullying and stand in solidarity with LGBT youth.

Researchers at the University of Warwick and Duke University have released a new study, entitled, “Impact of Bullying in Childhood on Adult Health, Wealth, Crime and Social Outcomes.” The study shows that bullying has long-term financial and health effects on both victims and bullies.

According to the study, victims of bullying were:

  • 11.6% more likely to be in poverty
  • 13.2% more likely to get fired from a job
  • 8.7% more likely to have problems with financial management
  • 12.9% more likely to have health problems

Children who were both victims and bullies were:

  • 19.9% more likely to be in poverty
  • 22.5% more likely to drop out of high school
  • 27.0% more likely to not have a college degree
  • 17.9% more likely to get fired from a job
  • 25.1% more likely to fail to honor financial obligations like paying bills.
  • 27.0% more likely to have health problems

The Wall Street Journal reported on the study, and talked to one of the authors of the study:

So what should be done about this issue? Dr. William Copeland, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center and one of the authors of the study, says that this research has some important implications for schools and parents. In schools, the most successful bullying prevention programs are those in which school personnel, parents and students work together, he says. “For parents it is critical to be talking to their children about what is happening at school and how they are getting along with their peers,” he says.

Spirit Day does call for parents, school personnel, and students to work together, along with highly visible support of grassroots organizations, media outlets, and high profile figures. When youth see a sea of purple, not only in their own school, but on television the internet, as well as from their favorite celebrities, they get the message.

Founded in 2010, Spirit Day is an international, united stand against bullying and show of support for LGBT teens and young adults everywhere. Participants can get into the spirit by:

  • Turning your Facebook, Twitter and other profile photos purple at www.glaad.org/spiritday and spreading the word by using hashtag #SpiritDay
  • Wearing purple on October 17 and encouraging classmates or coworkers to do the same
  • Uploading photos of you wearing purple to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr using hashtag #SpiritDay
  • Downloading the Spirit Day App
  • Educating your friends and family about bullying and the LGBT community
  • Getting your school, GSA, organization, etc. to become a Spirit Day partner