Youth who experienced bullying were found to be at increased risk for psychopathology; however, resilience was observed to be a protective factor. These findings were published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

This study was a cross-sectional analysis of data from the Youth Aware of Mental Health promotion program which took place in Texas. Students (N=2155) from North Texas middle and high schools self-reported whether they experienced bullying and responded to the Adolescent Resilience Questionnaire (ARQ49), Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomology Adolescent Version (QIDS-A), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Screening (GAD-7).

The students were aged mean 15.2 (SD, 1.1) years, 64.6% were girls, 42.2% were White, 83.5% had been bullied, QIDS-A score was 8.0 (SD, 4.8), GAD-7 score was 6.2 (SD, 5.1), and ARQ49 score was 171.4 (SD, 28.2).


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Individuals who were bullied had higher depression and anxiety scores and lower ARQ49 scores compared with individuals who did not report being bullied (all P <.0001).

Experiencing bullying was negatively correlated with ARQ49 (r, -0.24; P <.0001) scores and positively correlated with depression (r, 0.24; P <.0001) and anxiety (r, 0.23; P <.0001). Anxiety and depression were correlated (r, 0.74; P <.0001).

Resilience was significantly associated with depression severity (b, -0.23; P <.0001). Adding resilience to the model of depression and bullying found that resilience partially mediated the effects of bullying on the severity of depression by 64% (P <.0001).

Resilience was also associated with anxiety (b, -0.58; P <.0001). Adding resilience to the model of anxiety and bullying revealed that resilience mediated 58% of the total effect (P <.0001).

Stratified by gender, 63% of the total effect on depression and 50% of the effect on anxiety was mediated by resilience among boys. For girls, resilience mediated 62% and 60% of the total effect of depression and anxiety, respectively.

This study was limited by its cross-sectional design, in which it remains unclear what are the direction of effects.

The study authors concluded, “Overall, this study supports that resilience is a protective factor that mediates the negative mental health outcomes (ie, depression and anxiety) related to experiencing bullying.”

Disclosure: Multiple authors declared affiliations with industry. Please refer to the original article for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

Anderson JR, Mayes TL, Fuller A, Hughes JL, Minhajuddin A, Trivedi M. Experiencing bullying’s impact on adolescent depression and anxiety: Mediating role of adolescent resilience. J Affect Disord. 2022;S0165-0327(22)00336-6. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2022.04.003

This article originally appeared on Psychiatry Advisor