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Bullying linked to depression in young adults

Nearly a third of early adulthood depression is linked to bullying in teenage years according to researchers at the University of Oxford


Scientists followed nearly 4,000 youngsters from the age of 13 to 18 to examine the long-term effects of bullying.

Of the 683 teenagers who reported frequent bullying at more than once a week at the age of 13, 15 per cent of those were depressed at 18.

And of the 1,446 teenagers who reported being bullied one-to-three times over six months at 13, seven per cent were depressed at 18.

Dr Lucy Bowes at the University of Oxford said: “Adolescents who reported frequent bullying by peers were about twice as likely to develop depression compared with non-victimised peers.

“The large population attributable fraction suggests that approximately 29 per cent of the burden of depression at age 18 years could be attributed to victimisation by peers in adolescence if this were a causal relation.”

Participants for the study completed a self-report questionnaire at the age of 13 about bullying.

Then again at 18 there was another assessment that identified individuals who met internationally agreed criteria for depressive illness.

The study found the most common type of bullying was name-calling with 36 per cent having experienced it, while 23 per cent had belongings taken.

It also revealed that most teenagers do not tell a teacher or a parent about the problem.

Study authors want more interventions to help reduce bullying in schools as this could help prevent depression in later life.

Meanwhile, a survey of more than 1,000 children and 2,000 adults, has revealed that one in 10 children in the UK has been bullied via a social media platform.

The annual study by Intel Security, found 87 per cent of youths have witnessed cyberbullying compared to 27 per cent who witnessed cruel behaviour online last year.

In May 2014, Facebook introduced a bullying prevention centre in the UK.

It offers information and advice to those who find themselves a victim both online and off.

Many parents are becoming increasingly concerned about the importance of learning about the technology and social media available to children.

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