Bullying Victims Likely to Be Depressed

ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 21 (UPI) — Youth who are the targets of cyber bullying at school are at greater risk for depression than are the bullies, U.S. researchers say.

Jing Wang, Tonja R. Nansel and Ronald J. Iannotti of the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development say their findings challenge earlier studies that found the highest depression scores are among bully-victims — those who both bully others and but are also bullied themselves.

Traditional forms of bullying involve physical violence, verbal taunts, or social exclusion. Cyber bullying is aggressive behavior communicated via the Internet, cellphones and social media.

“Notably, cyber victims reported higher depression than cyber bullies or bully-victims, which was not found in any other form of bullying,” the study authors say in a statement. “Unlike traditional bullying which usually involves a face-to-face confrontation, cyber victims may not see or identify their harasser; as such, cyber victims may be more likely to feel isolated, dehumanized or helpless at the time of the attack.”

Being bullied interferes with scholastic achievement, development of social skills and general feelings of well being, Iannotti says.

The findings are published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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