Being Bullied Doubles The Risk Of Depression

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Many people say bullying is just a part of “kids being kids” but it can have severe consequences for the children that are bullied, according to a new study published in The BMJ. According to the findings, children who report being bullied by their peers at age 13 are twice as likely to experience depression by the age of 18.

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

For the study, the researchers created a statistical model that was used to predict that 30 percent of cases of adult depression may be related to childhood bullying based on records, interviews, and diagnoses obtained from over 2,600 adolescents in Britain between the ages of 13 and 18.

Using this model, the study found several notable statistics, such as only 5.5 percent of adolescents who weren’t bullied reported being depressed at age 18. Comparatively, approximately 15 percent of those who were frequently bullied later were diagnosed with the condition and another 7.1 percent of those who reported occasional bullying were later diagnosed with depression.

Up to 50% of those who were bullied never told their parents about the problem and as much as 75% didn’t report the problem to teachers, which study co-author says is “equally surprising and indeed concerning.”

According to the report, the most common form of bullying was name-calling and verbal abuse.

In an editorial accompanying the study in The BMJ, Maria Ttofi, a psychological criminologist at the University of Cambridge who was not involved in the study, wrote that this study does more than validate previous research on the association, but goes further by establishing verified diagnoses of depression.

“Given the cross national consistency in the relation between bullying behaviors and psychosocial adjustment, [the study] offers clear anti-bullying messages that should be endorsed by parents and school authorities,” said Ttofi.

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