If your child suffers from depression, they may also be a target for bullying, according to new research. Many parents and teachers assume that bullying causes depression, but it’s often the other way around.
“We found that depression symptoms predicted negative peer relationships,” said Karen Kochel, a co-author of the study, which was published in the journal Child Development.
Classic signs of depression for adolescents include excessive crying and a lack of energy, according to a news release from Arizona State University. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers collected yearly surveys from parents, teachers, peers and students. The study included more than 485 students who ranged from fourth to sixth grade.
“Adolescence is the time when we see depressive symptoms escalate, particularly in girls,” Kochel said. “This may be due to the onset of puberty or interpersonal challenges, such as emotionally demanding peer and romantic relationships which often are experienced during adolescence.”
The study showed that fourth-graders who were depressed were likely to be bullied in fifth grade and had difficulty being accepted by their peers in sixth grade.
“Teachers, administrators and parents need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression and the possibility that depression is a risk factor for problematic peer relations,” Kochel said in the news release.
Sources: Arizona State University news release, Child Development
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