The Weekly Mind Reader: Bullying At-Risk Children Double Those Without MEDB Conditions

by Staff Writer
July 7, 2023 at 9:05 AM UTC

minor ear anomalies are more common in people with depressive order.

A new The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders brief report should concern anyone who cares about the safety and psychological well-being of vulnerable children. 

Children at Risk

The brief sums up a retrospective analysis of National Survey of Children’s Health data putting the prevalence of bullying among children with mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral (MEDB) problems 50 percent higher than those without such issues. 

The study involved 50,212 children with mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral problems and it included 44,292 children with no evident mental health diagnosis. Specifically, 22.9 percent of children with identified MEDB issues reported being bullied in the past year, compared to 15.3 percent of other children.

Children with certain mental health difficulties were most likely to be pushed around by their peers. For example, 38 percent of kids diagnosed with depression reported being the object of bullying within the past year. Likewise for 32 percent of kids with anxiety, and 29 percent of those with ADHD. More than a quarter of children with autism spectrum disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, developmental delays, or learning disabilities also said they were harassed in some way within the 12 months of the study.

“The results of our study highlight the need for specialized interventions to reduce bullying victimization among the vulnerable pediatric populations with MEDB problems” the researchers wrote. “Bullying victimization among these vulnerable children might increase school abstinence, worsen mental health outcomes, and have an additive effect on poor educational outcomes.”

The researchers acknowledged that the relationship between mental health and bullying is complex. Social differences, communication difficulties, emotional vulnerability, and discrimination probably contribute to stigma, they said. Kids with emotional and psychological problems also tend to struggle with forming friendships. They actively encourage additional research to identify risk factors linked to bullying.  Implementing targeted interventions aimed at reducing victimization would also help.


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