A study conducted by an international team of researchers and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, suggests that young teens who merely witness minor acts of violence like threats and insults, but are not themselves victims of bullying, are also at increased risk for depression, drug use, social anxiety, and academic problems.
For this study, which involved about 4,000 high school students in Quebec, the researchers examined the association between witnessing violence at school in grade 8 (age 13, on average) and the risk for developing antisocial behaviors, emotional problems, and difficulty at school in grade 10 (age 15). They also compared the long-term effects of witnessing school violence versus being the victim of school violence.
They found that major violence (assault, weapon possession) and secret acts of violence (theft, vandalism) were linked to subsequent problems like drug use and delinquency. However, they also found that minor acts of violence (threats, insults) increased the risk for mental health and social problems in high school.
Sourced from: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health