Bully victimization and child and adolescent health: new evidence from the 2016 NSCH.Ann Epidemiol. 2019 01; 29:60-66.AE
To explore whether children with diagnosable health conditions are at greater risk of bully victimization and whether, among these children, bully victimization further elevates the risk of an array of health difficulties.
We examined a recent, nationally representative sample of children and adolescents aged 6-17 years who participated in the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health. Survey data pertaining to the children and adolescents covering bully victimization, health difficulties, and diagnosable health conditions were obtained from primary caregivers.
The results suggest that children with diagnosable conditions are at significantly higher risk of being bullied, particularly among children with birth defects and developmental disorders (e.g., 50% or more are victims of bullying). Furthermore, the findings reveal that, among children with diagnosable conditions, those who are victims of bullying are significantly more likely to experience various health challenges, relative to nonvictims. While these findings are significant across age groups, 12- to 17-year-old youth are more likely to experience bullying in the presence of multiple developmental disorders, and when this occurs, these youth are more likely to manifest health difficulties than younger children.
The findings suggest that children with disabilities and chronic health conditions, who are at a significantly greater risk of being bullied, also suffer from further health difficulties when they are victimized by their peers. In conjunction with school-based interventions, primary care physicians may be ideally positioned to assess youth for victimization risk, provide counseling to youth victims, and reduce future victimization through office-based youth violence interventions.