Bullying May Be Linked to Mental Disorders, with children MORE LIKELY than other kids to BE BULLIES.
“Much research probing the link between bullying and mental health has focused on how being bullied contributes to the development of issues like anxiety and depression. But a new study suggests the relationship goes both ways, finding that boys and girls with mental health disorders are three times more likely to be the bully.” SOURCE.
But what type of mental disorders were identified?
Depression, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, apparently.
Here’s the Scoop:
Children with mental health disorders are more likely than other kids to be bullies, a new study finds.
The study, “Association Between Mental Health Disorders and Bullying in the United States Among Children Aged 6 to 17 Years,” was conducted by Dr. Frances Turcotte-Benedict, a Brown University masters of public health student and a fellow at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence. She and her colleagues used data provided by the parents and guardians of children ages 6 to 17 as part of the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, which included nearly 64,000 children.
In 2007, approximately 15 percent of the children were identified as bullies, and that children with mental health disorders were three times more likely than their peers to bully other children.
“There is a larger story behind why children bully,” said Dr. Turcotte-Benedict, a Brown University masters of public health student and a fellow at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence. “And part of that story may include the diagnosis of a mental health disorder.”
It is well-established that victims of bullying are at increased risk for mental health illness and suicide, but few studies have examined the mental health status of bullies.
Depression was associated with a three-fold increased risk of being a bully, while a diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder increased the risk six times.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder. That disorder, which affects between 1 percent and 16 percent of school-age children, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, is characterized by many of the traits that are associated with bullying, such as aggression.
Turcotte-Benedict said the new study emphasizes the need for continued research into the complicated link between mental health disorders and bullying in order to improve prevention efforts. “We need to assess bullying prevention programs for their effect on children with mental health disorders,” she said, “and whether psychological support for these children has any impact on bullying behavior.”