Bullying a mental illness marker
BULLYING behaviour should be seen as a marker for future psychiatric illness, researchers say.
A Finnish study of more than 5000 children followed from the age of eight to 24 years found significant associations between bullying and victim behaviour and later psychiatric treatment.
Frequent victim status among females independently predicted psychiatric hospital treatment and the use of antipsychotic, antidepressant and anxiolytic drugs.
Among males, those who were frequently both bullies and victims, and those who were only bullies, had a higher future risk of antidepressant and anxiolytic drug use. The authors suggested those who displayed frequent bullying behaviour should be evaluated early for possible psychiatric problems.
“If not treated promptly [bullying behaviour] might develop into a serious problem for those involved and for society as a whole,” they said.