Young children 'can be driven insane by bullying'

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BULLYING can drive young children insane, researchers revealed today.

Being bullied increased the risk of psychotic symptoms by the age of adolescence up to four times, a study found.

Psychologists interviewed and tested 6,437 children from birth to 13 years. Those who suffered physical or emotional bullying were twice as likely to develop psychotic symptoms by early adolescence as children who were not bullied. However, if they experienced sustained bullying over a number of years, they could be four times more at risk.

Study leader Professor Dieter Wolke, from the University of Warwick, said: "Our research indicates that adverse social relationships with peers is a potent risk factor for developing psychotic symptoms."