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).
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.
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