Teen Bullying: How Does It Affect Adult Depression?

Teen Bullying: How Does It Affect Adult Depression?
Teen Bullying: How Does It Affect Adult Depression?


For a lot of adults, memories of teenage years are filled with a sense of joy and wistful nostalgia.

However, for many others, memories of high school are filled with a sense of dread and terror, as a result of the bullying they experienced.

Teen bullying is a very real problem in schools, leading to troubled teens developing depression. The effects of bullying in teenage years have been proven to go on to lead to adult depression. 

A Lasting Impression 

Bullying includes behaviors that focus on making someone else feel inferior, or focus on belittling someone else. These behaviors can include harassment, physical harm, demeaning speech, and efforts to ostracize and alienate another person. Bullying is active, and incredibly damaging. Unfortunately, it is also incredibly common. According to the statistics from Family First Aid, roughly 30% of teenagers in the US have been involved in bullying, either as the bully or the victim. Data further suggests that teen bullying is more common among younger teens than older teens, though the younger teens are more prone to physical bullying. 

A recent study has found that bullying in teenage years has a strong correlation to depression later in life. Researchers at the University of Oxford analyzed the relationship between teen bullying (age 13) and depression in early adulthood among 3, 898 participants. These volunteers completed a questionnaire about bullying at 13 years-old, and assessment designed to identify depressive illness when they were 18. Researchers found that of the 683 of the 13-year-olds who reported being bullied more than once per week, nearly 15% were depressed by the time they were 18. Yet another batch of 13-year-olds (1,464 participants) said they were bullied one to three times over a 6-month period. Of these, just over 7% reported being depressed as young adults. Only a very miniscule percentage of people did not experience teen bullying reported being depressed five years later. This study shows an incredibly strong relationship between teen bullying and depression in adulthood

But as a parent, what is the best thing that you can do?