- Ireland's Online Resource for Parents & Teachers

Parenting & Education in Ireland

Mental health effects of peer bullying similar to child abuse study finds

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 29/04/2015. Mental health effects of peer bullying similar to child abuse study findsTags: Parenting

Kids who are bullied or maltreated by their peers are more likely to have mental health consequences as young adults according to research.

Bullying by peers, a common problem among children, is known to cause long-term effects on young adults’ mental health and researchers say more needs to be done to combat bullying and for it to be taken more seriously with improvements to government policy.

According to research paper in the UK medical journal, The Lancet, psychiatrists, using data from wider US and UK studies, found that kids who were bullied were more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression into adulthood than those who were ‘maltreated’ or those who were not.

Maltreatment is defined “any physical or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, or negligent treatment resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity”. The researchers of study wanted to examine whether bullying had it’s own unique long term effects compared to children who were ‘maltreated.’

According to the report, ‘Being bullied by peers in childhood had generally worse long-term adverse effects on young adults' mental health.’ The researchers believe that results have ‘important implications for public health planning and service development for dealing with peer bullying.’

The authors summarised their findings by calling on governments to take ‘bullying by peers’ more seriously and not to focus primarily on family maltreatment but to add more resources to anti-bullying initiatives:

‘Since bullying is frequent and found in all social groups, and current evidence supports that bullied children have similar or worse long-term mental health outcomes than maltreatment, this imbalance requires attention. It is important for schools, health services, and other agencies to coordinate their responses to bullying, and research is needed to assess such interagency policies and processes. Future studies of maltreatment should take into account the effects of peer bullying.’

Source: The Lancet

Looking for advice on bullying or cyberbullying see our help section for teens and parents.


No documents found

Submit a comment

Please respect the terms of use of our discussion boards. Full terms here .
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. When you submit your comment, you'll be sent a link to confirm it.
Name Email