Kids will be kids. That idea has been the extent of the response to reports of bullying for many years. Recent efforts to address bullying on a broader scale have been frustrated by an entrenched idea that bullying is an acceptable or even necessary component of growing up. The truth is that bullying can have traumatic, long-lasting consequences. It should be addressed quickly and thoroughly by parents, teachers and administrators in school settings. Bullying is never acceptable. It is certainly not a training device to help children grow up. A recent study analyzed the connection between bullying in adolescent years and depression later in life. The findings support greater efforts in combating the problem early.
The study was conducted in the U.K. and analyzed a large number of young adults over time. Depression symptoms were nearly three times as common among 18-year-olds who had reported being the victims of bullying when they were 13 as they among those who weren’t. The connection between suffering bullying at 13 and depression at 18 persisted even after adjusting for other factors, such as gender and emotional and behavioral issues.
The goal of the study was to identify whether bullying was a factor for depression later in life. This is important because it is a factor that can be controlled. Many studies have demonstrated the short-term symptoms of being the victim of bullying, but the farther-reaching consequences are not as clear. If bullying is connected to mental and physical harm that extends well beyond the immediate aftermath, stronger deterrents may be justified.
Source: Medpage Today, “Bullied Teens Often Become Depressed Adults,” by Molly Walker, 3 June 2015