Depression in young adults linked to childhood bullying

A study has found a link between the likelihood of developing depression in young adults, and whether they were bullied or not as a child.

Almost a third of young people with depression could have developed it as a result of childhood bullying.

Over 6,700 people were studied by scientists from the University of Oxford. They found that the effects of bullying, or ‘peer victimisation’, in adolescence could affect mental health into adulthood.

29.2 per cent of cases of depression at the age of eighteen could be related to bullying at the age of thirteen.

Having personal belongings taken or being called names was the most common form of bullying reported in the study. Physical bullying was less common, but was the most likely to be reported to a teacher or staff member.

Anti-bullying programmes in school could help to prevent depression into adulthood as well as alleviate the pain in the lives of those suffering the torment of their peers.

Stress management tools are an incredibly useful way of managing our own mental health and state of mind, but sometimes help is needed to deal with the outside world. This is why it is important for parents and teachers to be receptive to children talking about bullying to them.

The study found that up to 51 per cent of children never told their parents that they were being bullied, and up to 74 per cent never told their teachers.

The authors commented: “These findings lead us to conclude that peer victimisation during adolescence may contribute significantly to the overall public health burden of clinical depression and that intervention to reduce peer victimisation in secondary schools should reduce the burden of depression.”

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