In The Politics of Autism, I discuss challenges facing autistic adults and children. One is bullying.
Bullying is a serious public health issue among children and adolescents in the United States. Existing national data sources provide limited current information about involvement in bullying among youth. The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of parent-reported bullying victimization and perpetration among U.S. children and adolescents ages 6–17 years using nationally representative data, and to examine health-related factors associated with bullying experiences. We conducted secondary data analysis of the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, and stratified the sample by age (6–11 years, 12–17 years). We performed bivariate analyses to examine prevalence of bullying experiences according to demographic characteristics, health conditions, health behaviors, health services, and family environment. Using multivariable logistic regressions, we assessed the association between these factors and bullying experiences. Results showed that 22.7% of U.S. children and adolescents were bullied by others and 6.4% bullied others. The rate of bullying victimization was slightly higher among 6–11 year olds than among 12–17 year olds (24.1 vs. 21.1%, p = 0.011). The rate of bullying perpetration was 7.2% among children and 5.6% among adolescents but the difference between age groups was not statistically significant (p = 0.086). Several health conditions and health services factors were associated with either bullying victimization or perpetration, including special health care needs, internalizing problems, behavior or conduct problems, speech or other language disorders, autism, and unmet need for mental health treatment or counseling. Bullying victimization was also strongly associated with bullying perpetration.From the article:
This study is consistent with others (National Academies 2016) in highlighting the need for universal prevention efforts and targeted services for children and adolescents to address bullying, Findings from this study suggest that such efforts should begin at young ages and address the needs of those who are at greatest risk of being bullied, including those with special health care needs, internalizing problems, behavioral and conduct problems, autism, and speech or other language disorders. Results also reveal opportunities to improve access to mental health services for youth experiencing bullying. Efforts should be made to target Journal of Child and Family Studies bullying prevention strategies where children and adolescents at higher risk are served, such as during health care visits and mental health visits. Parents, educators, speech and occupational therapists, coaches, and other adults who are in frequent contact with children and adolescents, should be offered training on bullying, who is at the greatest risk, and prevention and intervention strategies