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Expatriate Insurance News: Depressed children 'more likely to be bullied'

Expatriates with international health insurance policies may wish to ensure their children receive treatment if they suffer from depression, following research that revealed these individuals are more likely to be bullied in school.

The study, which was published in Child Development, found this mental health problem is a positive indicator of a person's likelihood of suffering from difficult relationships with their peers in adolescence.

Furthermore, researchers discovered no evidence to support popular assumptions that suffering from bullying leads to depression.

It revealed having this condition when aged nine or ten was a forewarning of peer victimisation a year later and trouble being accepted by classmates 12 months after this.

"Depression might in some circumstances leave a lasting scar that interferes with key developmental milestones, such as the ability to establish healthy relationships with peers," lead author of the study and assistant research professor at Arizona State University Karen Kochel said.

Scientists examined data relating to 486 children between US grades four and six, or aged between nine and 13, receiving information from students, teachers, peers and parents in annual surveys.

Adult respondents were asked to identify symptoms of depression, such as a lack of energy or excessive crying, to determine which participants have the ailment.

Peer victimisation was defined as any bullying that revealed itself in verbal, relational or physical ways, including picking on people, insulting them, talking about them behind their back or hitting them.

The investigation commenced in 1992 and lasted for almost 20 years, continually involving a study of interpersonal conflict inside academic institutions.

"Parents tend not to observe these relationships," Ms Kochel pointed out.

She argued the findings should assist teachers, parents and other people who work with children.

"School personnel, as well as parents, should make efforts to recognise symptoms of depression in preadolescents and early adolescents and minimise the negative influence of depressive symptoms on youths' peer relationships," the scientist declared.

Approximately two in three adults suffer from this mental health problem at some point in their lifetime.

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