Teen Bullying Associated with Serious Psychological Distress, Study Finds

By Hannah Guzik

Nearly a third of California teens who were bullied later report serious psychological distress, a new study has found.

About 30 percent of California teens who were victims of bullying reported that they were depressed, anxious or had other serious psychological distress in the months after, according to the report, published in the peer-reviewed California Journal of Health Promotion in October.

Researchers found that teens who had support from adults at schools fared better psychologically, but they still faced bullying.

The study used data from 2,799 adolescents who responded to the 2011-12 California Health Interview Survey.

About 16 percent of those ages 12-17 said their peers had threatened them in the last year, and 13 percent of respondents said they had been afraid of being beaten up at school in the past year.

About 32 percent of those who had been threatened and 30 percent of those who worried about physical violence reported symptoms of serious psychological distress, which include feeling nervous, hopeless, depressed and worthless.

Teens with poor mental health can struggle academically and can be more susceptible to substance use, according to the study.

The researchers wrote that the findings show that “the prevention of bullying should be prioritized and additional intervention is needed, above and beyond social support, to prevent bullying and its psychological consequences.”

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