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The Lasting Effects of Bullying

New research finds being bullied can have a long-term negative effect on teenagers.

The psychological effects of being bullied don't necessarily stop when the bullying does. That's the conclusion of a newly released study published in the journal Pediatrics.

"Students who expressed more frequent peer victimization in fifth grade were more likely to have greater symptoms of depression in seventh grade, and a greater likelihood of using alcohol, marijuana, or tobacco in 10th grade," reports University of Delaware psychologist Valerie Earnshaw, the study's lead author. She and her colleagues examined data on 4,297 students from six states, who were tracked from fifth through 10th grades.

These findings are particularly ominous given the results of a large survey of American teenagers we reported on in February. It found 70 percent "reported witnessing bullying, hate messages or harassment during or since the 2016 election. Of those, 79 percent said such behaviors have been occurring more frequently since the onset of the presidential campaign."

"Peer victimization really matters," Earnshaw writes, "and we need to take it seriously."