If you ever wondered if there was something wrong with bullies and those who engage in bullying behaviors, researchers now have some better idea.

It could be a component of a mental disorder, according to a study out of Brown University and presented today at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting.

After analyzing responses from a parent survey, the researchers found that those who were considered bullies were more than twice as likely to experience depression, anxiety and attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD).

Bullying is a problem in many schools. But we need to realize that bullying isn’t always just plain ‘ole bad behavior. Sometimes there are other factors at play.

Because of the survey nature of the study, the researchers couldn’t say whether the mental health problems might be a contributing causal factor of bullying, or whether such disorders are a result of someone who engages in bullying behavior.

All too often, society focuses on the victim of bullying. Little help may be offered to the bully, who may also be suffering from concerns that could benefit from treatment (or at the very least, parental attention):

Some experts agreed, adding that it is also important for parents, clinicians and teachers to identify the root of the children’s anger, and to help the children channel their aggression in a better way.

“Parents of bullies who are made aware of their child’s behavior should take the concerns seriously and seek help and treatment for their child, hopefully in the earlier stages so that alternative behaviors can be taught and reinforced before some of the more negative ones become entrenched,” said Hilfer.

Previous research has found that both bullies and their victims suffer from suicidal thoughts more than 3 times as often as other children.

Bullying and being bullied also has been found in a 2007 study to result in a greater risk of adult mental disorders. The disorders suffered tended to be either an anxiety disorder or antisocial personality disorder.

Over the summer, we also noted a new tool to help profile school bullies. This tool could allow schools to help better identify potential bullies and help them before they turn in to actual bullies.

Bullying is never an excusable behavior. Studies like this help shed light on the complicated dynamics at play with this behavior, and offers parents and professionals ideas on how to help reduce it.

Read the full entry about the new study over at ABC News: Bullies Nearly Twice as Likely to Have Mental Health Disorder