WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Children who are bullied often carry the scars of their experience into adulthood and suffer from anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, a new study indicates.
Even bullies themselves are at risk for psychological problems when they grow up, the researchers added. And children who have been both perpetrator and victim suffer the worst as adults.
"There has been a lot of research into how bullying affects children short-term. We followed kids into their early 20s to see if there was any kind of lasting effects of having been bullied," said study author William Copeland, an assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
"We found kids that had been just bullied in childhood seemed to be at an elevated risk for a number of different anxiety disorders when they were adults," he said. "Kids that had been bullied and also bullied other kids seemed to be in the worst lot. They had thoughts of depression and hurting themselves when they were adults. They have the worst long-term outcomes."
Copeland believes the solution is clear.
"If we could set up a culture in schools where this isn't allowed to happen, then, I think, there are a lot of these problems we can avoid," he said.
The report was published Feb. 20 in the online edition of JAMA Psychiatry.
To see the long-term effects of bullying, Copeland's team collected data on more than 1,400 children who took part in the Great Smoky Mountain Study.
At the start of that study, these North Carolina kids were 9, 11 and 13 years old. The children and their parents were interviewed every year until the children were 16 and then periodically after that.
Each time the children were interviewed, they were asked whether they had been bullied or teased or whether they had bullied other
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