Disabled, Ill Youths at Higher Risk of Being Bullied

Poorer social support, trouble communicating with fathers associated with higher risk
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents with disabilities or chronic illness appear more likely to be bullied, with certain social and family factors affecting their risk, according to research published online Oct. 8 in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Mariane Sentenac, M.Sc., of University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France, and colleagues analyzed survey responses from 12,048 students -- ages 11, 13, and 15 -- in France and Ireland who participated in the 2006 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study.

The researchers found that bullying victimization in students of this age was more common in France than Ireland (34.2 percent versus 25.9 percent). In both countries, however, youths with disabilities or chronic illness (D/CI) were more likely to report being bullied. These students were found to be at additional risk if they had restrictions in their school participation. Factors associated with being bullied in all children, but especially those with D/CI, were weaker social support and difficulty communicating with their fathers.

"Our study highlights the need to pay attention to the particular issues for children with D/CI associated with bullying victimization, and these findings deserve qualitative exploration cross-nationally," the authors write.

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