About 47 percent of deLara’s interviewees said they had mined something beneficial, like a sense of inner strength or self-reliance, from the experience. Others cultivated empathy or consciously decided to treat others well or make something of their lives. Everyone with APBS had at least one or more of these boons, deLara says.
It’s unclear how much of this silver lining can be traced to genetics, and how much to a supportive family or community. “We don’t know the answer as to why some people who are bullied as children have what they consider to be a beneficial outcome as adults,” deLara says.