Although we’ve heard of the negative impact bullying might have on the emotional health of children, the point has been reiterated and the argument strengthened by the findings of a recently published study which found peer victimization to cause anxiety and depression in nearly a third of the 6,700 young people surveyed.
The 683 individuals analyzed in the study, who were frequently exposed to bullying, were just 13-years-old when the study began and by the time they were 18-years-old, 101 of them suffered from depression. Furthermore, 103 of the 1,446 who experienced some bullying were depressed by the age of 18.
The study’s co-author Lucy Bowes indicated that it’s impossible to conclude whether bullying caused the depression, however, her colleagues and her strongly suspect the existence of a clear causal relationship between the two.
Bowes was quoted by the Huffington Post as having said that “the influence of peers becomes paramount” at the age of 13.
This is an age when the influence of peers becomes paramount
The study was designed to control for factors that might otherwise reveal the cause of the depression, such as emotional problems and baseline depression which could make someone increasingly vulnerable to bullying — resulting clinical depression.
In the study, 5 percent of the non-exposed participants suffered depression by the time they reached age 18 while 15 percent of the bullied victims were depressed by the time they reached adulthood.
The study also found a chasm between parents and children when it comes to understanding the bullying experience, as the researchers reported that 1,199 of the teens surveyed reported that they were the victims of frequent bullying, but only 229 mothers reported their children to have been victims.
According to Bowes, a psychologist at the University of Oxford, a good approach to resolving the problem of bullying induced depression is to properly implement anti-bullying programs in schools in which parents are more involved; essentially, addressing the root of the problem.
According to a report on Forbes, bullying today is largely more subversive now than it ever was, with more accessible avenues to inflict emotional pain on others such as through the internet, text, and various social media.
In other psychology related coverage here at Immortal News, an unrelated study suggests bullying to have more adverse effects on children than child abuse, as the study found that children who have not suffered any sexual abuse or mistreatment to be more susceptible to depression.