A study by Oxford University found that nearly one third of young adults suffered from depression as a direct result of bullying in earlier life.
The research tracked around 4,000 youngsters between the ages of 13 and 18 to discover what effect bullying has on people in the long term.
The study found that one third of the group who were suffering from depression as adults had been bullied when they were younger. This suggests that the impact of bullying lingers for many years.
Dr Lucy Bowers from the University of Oxford said: “We found evidence for an association between victimisation by peers in adolescence and depression in young adulthood.”
“Adolescents who reported frequent bullying by peers were about twice as likely to develop depression compared with non-victimised peers.
“The large population attributable fraction suggests that approximately 29 per cent of the burden of depression at age 18 years could be attributed to victimisation by peers in adolescence if this were a causal relation.”
Out of the 683 teens who reported being bullied more than once a week at 13 years of age, 14.8% were depressed when they reached adulthood at 18. 1446 teenagers reported being bullied between one and three times over six months, and out of these 7.1% were depressed when they reached 18 years of age.
For the people who did not experience bullying, only 5.5% were depressed at 18.
The most common form of bullying was name-calling with 36% of those bullied having experienced it, while 23% had belongings stolen. Most who suffered from bullying did not tell a parent or teacher.
Dr Maria Ttofi from Cambridge University commented on the report, saying: “Bullying can hamper the psychosocial development of young people.
“Peer victimisation significantly predicts depression, and societies need to take measures to protect vulnerable young people.”