Children who are consistently bullied by peers appear more likely to develop psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorders in early adolescence, according to a study by scientists from England and Australia (Schreier A et al. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009;66:527-536).
The study involved 6437 young adolescents who were part of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. About 46% of participants were categorized as targets of bullying at either ages 8 or 10 years. At follow-up, 13.7% of them had “broad” psychotic symptoms (1 or more symptoms either suspected or definitely present), 11.5% had “intermediate” symptoms (1 or more suspected or definitely present symptoms at times other than during transitions between wakefulness and sleep, fever, or just after substance use), and 5.6% had “narrow” symptoms (1 or more symptoms definitely present).