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Depression May Tie Bullying to Substance Use in Girls

Depression May Tie Bullying to Substance Use in GirlsResearchers have known that both boys and girls who are victims of bullying are at elevated risk for depression, including bullying online.

Now, a new study suggests that bullying-related depression among adolescent girls may lead to substance use.

As schools reopen following the holidays, the message to parents of adolescent girls is that bullying can have serious consequences,  according to researcher Jeremy Luk of the University of Washington.

“If your daughter is a victim of bullying, take it seriously, do all possible to prevent recurrence, and attend to possible depression and substance use,” he said. 

“For parents of boys who are bullied: Depression is still an issue, but it may not explain the relation between victimization and substance use.”

Luk, a doctoral student in child clinical psychology, reported his findings in the December issue of the journal Prevention Science.

His study is the first to identify depression as a possible link to the relation between victimization and substance use among adolescents. The findings are generalizable because they are based on data from a nationally representative sample of 1,495 tenth graders.

Luk’s research was based on data on bullying from the 2005/2006 U.S. Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC).

“Bullying is a serious problem among adolescents. Previous research has shown that it is associated with loneliness, depression and suicide. But no previous national studies have identified depression as an explanation for the relationship between victimization from bullying and substance use,” Luk said.

The survey measured depression by asking 10th graders: how often in the past 30 days they: (1) were very sad; (2) were grouchy or irritable, or in a bad mood; (3) felt hopeless about the future; (4) felt like not eating or eating more than usual; (5) slept a lot more or a lot less than usual; and (6) had difficulty concentrating on their school work.

Responses were coded one to five: “never,” “seldom,” “sometimes,” “often,” and “always.” Substance use was measured by asking number of occasions in the past 30 days that adolescents had (1) smoked cigarettes; (2) drunk alcohol; (3) been drunk and (4) used marijuana.

For each item, four categories were created: “never,” “once or twice,” “three to five times” and “more than five times.”

Source: Society for Prevention Research

Depression May Tie Bullying to Substance Use in Girls

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Depression May Tie Bullying to Substance Use in Girls. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2011/01/20/depression-may-tie-bullying-to-substance-use-in-girls/22806.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.