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.