Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bullying of Children With Disabilities: Addendum I: 20 Year Study

English: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, th...
English: Bullying on IRFE in March 5, 2007, the first class day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bullying of children with disabilities continues to be the hot button issue in special education law. The Special Education Law Blog has recently run an in depth series of posts on bullying of children with disabilities.  

Recent news concerning the effects of bullying on children in general provides more insight into the harmful effects of this nasty phenomenon. The effects may be worse than previously suspected.

In other news, a study was recently released that followed children who were bullied or who were bullies or both for a period of twenty years. The study by William E. Copeland, PhD; Dieter Wolke, PhD; Adrian Angold, MRCPsych; E. Jane Costello, PhD was published in the JAMA Psychiatry Journal and can be reviewed here. A summary by can be read here.

The study found that bullied children grow into adults who are at increased risk of developing anxiety disorders, depression and suicidal thoughts. Those who were both bullies and victims had higher levels of all anxiety and depressive disorders, plus the highest levels of suicidal thoughts, depressive disorders, generalized anxiety and panic disorder. Bullies were also at increased risk for antisocial personality disorder.

What are your thoughts?
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  1. It seems like common sense to me that being bullied resulted in anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. I had not really considered the anti social behavior of the bully. There needs to be counciling available for bullies, they obviously need help as well.

  2. It is logical that being bullied would cause an increase in depression and anxiety in any child. However, when the child also has some form of a disability which becomes a target for a bully, the child may not have the coping mechanisms to handle the bullying. It seems to me that bullying can have an even greater affect on the student with disabilities do to the fact they may not be able to process the bullying behavior directed towards them. Also, they may not appropriately respond to the bullying. When a student who has disabilities becomes a target for a bully, their emotions and behaviors can become overly reactive due to the inability to properly process what is happening.

  3. Carole,

    Thanks for your comment.