Bullying at school and later criminality: findings from three Swedish community samples of males

Crim Behav Ment Health. 2011 Apr;21(2):151-6. doi: 10.1002/cbm.806.


Aim: To examine whether being a bully at school predicts later criminality.

Method: Longitudinal, prospective associations are reported between bullying and later criminality over the 8-year period from age 16 to 24.

Results: Bullying in early adolescence strongly predicted later criminality. The former school bullies were heavily overrepresented in the crime registers. Some 55% of them had been convicted of one or more crimes and as much as 36% had been convicted of at least three crimes in the studied period. Effect sizes in the form of Odds Ratios were substantial for both general crimes and violent crimes, varying between 3.47 and 7.79.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bullying / psychology*
  • Criminals / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Schools
  • Social Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Sweden
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Young Adult