by Kyle Beard on Wednesday, February 5th, 2020
Some children experiencing bullying may have a higher risk of developing depression, The University of Bristol reported. This relationship is due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors.
Researchers wanted to figure out what factors influenced depression in teenagers and adolescents aged 10 to 24, and why some reacted differently to risk factors like experiencing childhood anxiety, domestic violence, postpartum depression, and bullying. The study utilized questionnaires dealing with feelings and moods and genetic information from over 3,000 teenagers. They used this information and coordinated it with the previously mentioned risk factors and found that bullying in childhood strongly influenced early age depression. Children who continued having depression into adulthood were more likely to have a genetic predisposition for depression and were also more likely to have had a mother with postpartum depression. Conversely, children bullied without a genetic predisposition for depression exhibited much lower symptoms of depression into adulthood.
Research consistently shows that depression can hit during the teenage years. This study examined how risk factors such as bullying and experiencing life with a mother with postpartum depression influenced changes over time. It is imperative to note that some children have higher risks of developing depression years after experiencing childhood bullying. The study found that bullied children are eight times more likely to experience childhood depression, while some of those children showed patterns of depression that continued into adulthood.
Genetic predisposition does not indicate a destiny to develop depression. It still takes environmental factors and life experiences to lead to depression, which is not entirely understood. The complicated relationship between the genetic and environmental risk factors that influence the development of depression continues to require study and examination to change prevention strategies and implement coping skills in our health and education systems.
Children are an at-risk population; whose development depends upon environmental and genetic factors. The results of studies such as this can help us identify which groups of children are most likely to suffer chronic depression throughout adolescence and adulthood, and which groups of children will recover during adolescence. Early interventions should focus on bullying and family history, although preventing depression symptoms is difficult when risk factors persist. Depression may lead to substance use and subsequent substance use disorders (SUDs) to drugs or alcohol, and therefore requires attention, research, and interventions to help prevent addictions from occurring.
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