ORLEANS – Children diagnosed with mental health disorders were three times more
likely to be identified as bullies, according to new research presented Oct. 22
at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition
in New Orleans.
is a form of youth violence defined as repetitive, intentional aggression that
involves a disparity of power between the victim and perpetrator. A 2011
nationwide survey found 20 percent of U.S. high school students were bullied
during the preceding 12 months. And while it is well-established that victims
of bullying are at increased risk for mental health illness and suicide, few
studies have investigated the mental health status of those who do the
the study, “Association Between Mental Health Disorders and Bullying in the
United States Among Children Aged 6 to 17 Years,” researchers reviewed data
provided by parents and guardians on mental health and bullying in the 2007
National Survey of Children’s Health, which included nearly 64,000 children.
2007, 15.2 percent of U.S. children were identified as bullies by a parent or
guardian. Overall, children with mental health disorders were three times more
likely to bully other children. A sub-analysis by type of mental health
disorder found that children with a diagnosis of depression were three times
more likely to bully, while a diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
was associated with a six fold increase in the odds of being identified as a
“These findings highlight the importance of
providing psychological support not only to victims of bullying, but to bullies
as well,” said study author Frances G. Turcotte-Benedict, MD, a Brown
University master's of public health student and a fellow at Hasbro Children's
Hospital in Providence, RI."
“In order to create successful anti-bullying prevention and intervention
programs, there certainly is a need for more research to understand the
relationship more thoroughly, and especially, the risk profile of childhood
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary
care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical
specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants,
children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.