Childhood bullying increases likelihood of adult panic and depression.
Posted Mar 12 2013 5:06pm
As a child, I was soft, naive, bookish. The last boy in the neighborhood to believe in Santa Claus. The perfect victim for kids with a mean streak. Memories of being bullied are seared in my mind. The kid down the block who pinned my shoulders beneath his knees, grabbing me by the hair and pounding my skull against the asphalt of our leafy suburban street, again and again, until I began to give up the fight and lose myself in the vision of the tree branches swaying overhead. The girl in seventh grade, popular and pretty, who mocked my shambling gait each morning at the bus stop.
What did I do in response? I bullied other kids. I beat up kids who were softer, lower in the neighborhood pecking order. I mocked the girl in homeroom with really bad acne: "Pizza face!" I counted the days until I'd be big and strong enough to turn the tables on the kid down the block who'd beaten me senseless, and reduce him to tears with my fists.
Bullied kids were about three to five times more likely to have an
anxiety or panic disorder or agoraphobia through their 20s after
adjustment for childhood psychiatric problems and family hardships,
William E. Copeland, PhD, of Duke University Medical Center, and
Kids who both bullied other children and were
bullied themselves had the biggest psychological consequences in young
adulthood, the researchers reported online in JAMA Psychiatry.
They had roughly five-fold risk of depression and greater than 10-fold
risk of panic disorder, agoraphobia (for women), and suicidality (for