A new study provides evidence that adolescents who suffer from depression are more likely to develop difficulty in peer relationships including being bullied at school.
It's often assumed that being bullied leads to psychological problems, such as depression, but the study doesn't support this line of thought.
"Often the assumption is that problematic peer relationships drive depression. We found that depression symptoms predicted negative peer relationships," said Karen Kochel, Arizona State University School of Social and Family Dynamics assistant research professor. "We examined the issue from both directions but found no evidence to suggest that peer relationships forecasted depression among this school-based sample of adolescents."
Being depressed in fourth grade predicted peer victimization in fifth grade and difficulty with peer acceptance in sixth grade, according to the research.
"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.
The new research is published in the journal Child Development.
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About Jim Liebelt
Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
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