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Teens who are bullied have a greater risk of developing mental health issues, including depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and agoraphobia, as adults.
Anxiety disorder is particularly a problem, with bullied teenagers being much more likely to struggle with it as adults than those not bullied.
Research consistently shows the power a bully’s actions or words can have on teens.
For instance, one study showed that teen girls who had experienced verbal or cyberbullying had higher rates of depression than teen girls who weren’t targeted by bullies.
In one recent study, about one third of the children who either bullied others or were bullied themselves were identified as bully-victims (1).
Schwartz and his colleagues (4) have suggested that a distinguishing feature of bully-victims is that they struggle to control their emotions.
However, although less visible and distressing to others, internalizing problems such as anxiety and depression can also be debilitating, and deserve an equal amount of attention.
Programs designed to address children’s behavioral problems (7) have been developed separately from comparable interventions for emotional problems relating to anxiety and depression (8).
Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide.
Children who bully are more likely than other youngsters to experience peer rejection, conduct problems, anxiety, and academic difficulties, and to engage in rule-breaking behavior (2, 3).