Severe Bullying Tied to Mental Health Woes in Teens

Severe Bullying Tied to Mental Health Woes in Teens

Teens who were severely bullied as children are at increased risk for mental health problems and suicide attempts, a Canadian study finds.

The study included data on more than 1,300 children in the province of Quebec, from birth until age 15.

About 59 percent of the children reported some bullying in their first years of elementary school, but that generally declined as the youngsters got older.

However, about 15 percent of the children were "exposed to the most severe levels of victimization from the beginning of their education until the transition to high school," Marie-Claude Geoffroy and fellow researchers from McGill University in Montreal wrote in the study.

"Although peer victimization starts to decrease by the end of childhood, individuals in the severe trajectory group were still being exposed to the highest level of victimization in early adolescence," the investigators noted.

At age 15, those who'd been severely bullied when they were younger were more than twice as likely to report depression or low moods and three times more likely to report anxiety than those who had experienced little or no bullying. They were also nearly 3.5 times more likely to report serious suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.

The study found no increased risk for mental health problems among teens who'd been moderately bullied.

The findings were published Jan. 15 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

"Our results, along with those of many other studies, suggest that severe peer victimization may contribute to the development of mental health problems in adolescence," the researchers wrote. "Therefore, it is important to prevent severe victimization early in the life span."

Anti-bullying efforts should start before children enter school, the investigators said in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has more on bullying.


Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Related Content

Psychiatric Hospitalizations: Finding the Bright Light at the End of the Tunnel
Psychiatric Hospitalizations: Finding the Bright Light at the End of the Tunnel

Admitting a loved one to a psychiatric ward can be scary, and intimidating. But,...

Read more
Overcoming Addiction & Abandonment: The Andre McKay Spotlight Series
Overcoming Addiction & Abandonment: The Andre McKay Spotlight Series

If you're watching on mobile : Access individual episodes by clicking the playli...

Read more
Debunking Depression & Harnessing Your Hardwired Nature to Be Happy
Debunking Depression & Harnessing Your Hardwired Nature to Be Happy

If you're watching on mobile : Access individual episodes by clicking the playli...

Read more
How to Help A Child Or Teen Who Is Self-Harming
How to Help A Child Or Teen Who Is Self-Harming

How can you help your child or teen who is self-harming? In this episode, Dr. Me...

Read more
3 Important Tips for Supporting Someone With Depression
3 Important Tips for Supporting Someone With Depression

Support is critical to any mental health condition, but especially one that can ...

Read more
Dr. Ramani on Why Talk Therapy Is so Important
Dr. Ramani on Why Talk Therapy Is so Important

Have you tried talk therapy? A lot of people think talk therapy is a waste of ti...

Read more