Bullying, once seen as a harmless rite of passage of children, has negative psychiatric consequences lasting well into adulthood, new research shows.

The study, published in this week's issue of JAMA Psychiatry, a network publication of the American Medical Association, found that victims of bullying have an increased risk of anxiety disorders and suicide later in life.

"This psychological damage doesn't just go away because a person grew up and is no longer bullied," said William Copeland, said lead author and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University. "This is something that stays with them. If we can address this now, we can prevent a whole host of problems down the road."

Researchers from Duke University Medical Center followed 1,420 participants assessed several times between 9 and 16 years of age. Participants were classified under four categories: victims only, bullies only, bullies and victims, and those who have experienced neither.

People who have experienced bullying had higher rates of family hardship and childhood psychiatric disorders. Even after adjusting for these factors, the differences among victims and bullies were startling.

Victims of bullying were 2.7 times more likely to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and 3.1 times more likely to suffer from panic disorder. They were also 4.6 times more likely to suffer from agoraphobia, a type of panic disorder in which people fear panic attacks in wide-open spaces, such as shopping malls or airports. In extreme cases, agoraphobics may be unable to leave their homes.

People who were both victims and bullies 4.8 times more likely to have depression in young adulthood. Those who experienced both victimization and bullying were 14.5 times more likely to suffer from a panic disorder. Within this group, females had startlingly high rates of agoraphobia (26.7 times more likely) and males had high rates of suicidality (18.5 times more likely).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, bullies themselves were 4.1 times more at risk for antisocial personality disorder, which is characterized by a disregard for the rights of others. Left unaddressed, people with extreme forms antisocial personality disorder could be tremendous costs to society, in the form of crime and legal trouble.

Anti-bullying campaigns have gained more attention in recent years in light of research on its health consequences, as well as the rise of cyberbullying. The issue has garnered attention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and more recently, Ke$ha became the official ambassador of MTV's "Love Is Louder" campaign.

"As someone who's been bullied my entire life, I know first-hand how this type of victimization can destroy lives and relationships," Ke$ha says. "It is imperative that we empower kids and teens to stop bullying."