Among preschoolers, bullies who get bullied are at high risk for depression

February 6, 2019 | The Hechinger Report

It turns out the old saying about sticks and stones breaking bones but words never hurting is bunk.

According to research newly published in the peer-reviewed Early Childhood Research Quarterly, emotional bullying in the preschool years hurts quite a lot. When a child both bullies and gets bullied, the findings are especially clear: Depression symptoms begin to appear as early as age 3. Depression in early childhood increases the risk of depression in later childhood, which predicts depression in adolescence.

Bullying by young children is “very obvious,” said Tracy Vaillancourt, a professor of child psychology at the University of Ottawa and co-author of the study. “They’re not very good at it but it’s still very effective.”

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