Childhood bullies and victims and their risk of criminality in late adolescence: The finnish from a boy to a man study

Andre Sourander, Peter Jensen, John A. Rönning, Henrik Elonheimo, Solja Niemelä, Hans Helenius, Kirsti Kumpulainen, Jorma Piha, Tuula Tamminen, Irma Moilanen, Fredrik Almqvist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Objective: To study correlations of childhood bullying and victimization with juvenile criminality. Design: Longitudinal birth cohort study from age 8 years to ages 16 to 20 years. Setting: Population-based study from Finland. Participants: The sample comprised 2551 boys (86.6% of the original birth cohort) with complete information about bullying and victimization from parents, teachers, and children at age 8 years. Main Outcome Measure: Information about criminal offenses from the National Police Register at ages 16 to 20 years. Results: Frequent bullies and those who frequently both bullied and were bullied (8.8% of the sample) were responsible for 33.0% of all juvenile crimes during the 4-year study period. Frequent bully-only status predicted both occasional and repeated offending, whereas bully-victim status predicted repeated offending. Bullying predicted most types of crime (violence, property, drunk driving, and traffic offenses) when controlled with parental education level. However, frequent bullies or victims without a high level of psychiatric symptoms were not at an elevated risk for later criminality. Conclusions: Boys who frequently bully are at risk for later criminality when this condition is accompanied by a high level of psychiatric symptoms. Frequent bullies should be actively screened for psychiatric problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-552
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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