According to a study conducted at the University of Oxford teen bullying can cause depression in adulthood. Almost a third of depression cases in adults had teenage bullying as one of the factors.
The long-running study was led by psychologist Lucy Bowes from the University of Oxford. It involved 3.898 students of 13-years-old. The surveys from then were five years later followed by questions about depression. The findings showed that those participants who experienced frequent bullying when they were teenagers had double risk of clinical depression at the age of 18 when compared to those teenagers who were had never been bullied.
7.1% of teenagers who were bullied occasionally, that is from one up to three times over a period of six month, were depressed at the age of 18. In the case of the participants who were bullied frequently the percentage doubles. Among teenagers who were bullied more than once a week 14.8% of them were depressed after five years. In the case of the participants who were never bullied only 5.5% of them were depressed.
Bowes said that they cannot establish whether the bullying caused the depression, but she suspects that there is indeed a strong causal relation between the two. The researchers took into account factors which could explain depression such as emotional problems which could make an individual more likely to experience both depression and bullying.
The types of bullying which were mentioned in the surveys were various. The most common one was name calling, followed by another form of bullying which involves taking one’s belongings. Most of the participants involved in the study never told their parents or their children about their problems.
Between 25% and 33% teenager in the US experience bullying. Some have even experienced online bullying. Those who are different from their group are the most common victims for bullying.
In an editorial attached to this paper Maria Ttofi who is a lecturer in psychological criminology remarked:
“Such substantial work should lead to further reflection about the need for early intervention. Effective antibullying programs can be seen as a form of public health promotion.”
Researchers are of the opinion that if schools would apply strong policies against bullying this could reduce the number of depression cases. Bowes remarked that 13 is an age at which the influence of the peers has utmost importance. Therefore it is important to do something about this at the right time so as to prevent later problems in adulthood.
Image Source: Telegraph