According to a British study just published in the British Medical Journal, adolescent victims of bullying by peers show double the risk for clinical depression by early adulthood. About 2700 adolescents were screened for peer bullying at age 13. Subsequently, at age 18, these subjects were screening for depression to see whether they met the criteria for a diagnosis of depression.
The rate of depression at age 18 was only 5% among the study participants who had reported no peer bullying at age 13. However, it was nearly three times that — almost 15% — among those reporting frequent bullying. After researchers adjusted for previous symptoms of depression and behavioral problems, the association between bullying and depression remained about the same. The study authors conclude that almost a third of early-adult depression could be attributable to prior peer bullying.