Previous research has linked physical, emotional and sexual abuse during childhood to psychological difficulties later in life. Bullying too can have severe, long-lasting psychological and physical effects.
For the new study, researchers looked for associations between maltreatment, being bullied, and long term mental health problems. In particular, they say, they wanted to know whether mental health problems in kids exposed to those kinds of experiences are due to both maltreatment and bullying or whether bullying has a unique effect.
"We found, somewhat surprisingly, that those who were bullied and maltreated were not at higher risk than those just bullied," senior study author Dieter Wolke, a psychology professor at the University of Warwick in the U.K., said by email.