This is the first study to examine whether high school students experiencing frequent bullying behaviors are at risk for later depression and suicidality.
A total of 236 students who reported frequent bullying behavior without depression or suicidality during a suicide screening were interviewed 4 years later to reassess depression, suicidal ideation, attempts, substance problems, and functional impairment and were compared to at-risk youth identified during the screen, including 96 youth who also experienced bullying behavior.
Youth who only reported frequent bullying behaviors (as bullies, victims, or both) did not develop later depression or suicidality and continued to have fewer psychiatric problems than students identified as at-risk for suicide.
Students who experienced bullying behaviors and depression or suicidality were more impaired 4 years later than those who had only reported depression or suicidality.
Thus, assessment of bullying behaviors in screening protocols is recommended.