Study finds a clear link between asthma and bullying victimization in children
A study that was published online in the Archives of Diseases and Disorders in Childhood suggests that children with asthma are less likely to be bullied or teased by peers.
However, kids who experience bullying or teasing due to their asthma are more likely to report worse control as well as restrictions on their daily activities, the findings show.
Bullying is a frequent issue for teens and children However, long-term health conditions make it more difficult for people with disabilities that are severe. Government figures indicate that 17% of 10-15 year young people in the UK are bullied, and almost 1 in 10 young people has asthma.
Researchers reviewed the evidence published and discovered a consistent relationship between bullying victimization and asthma. However, there were few reasons for why this connection exists.
The researchers therefore used data from the Room to Breathe survey to examine whether asthma control was related to the risk of bullying, and to how much parents’ concerns about their child’s asthma related to this.
Nearly 950 8-15-year-olds and their parents/caregivers have been interviewed from six countries for the Room to Breathe questionnaire. The questionnaire asked about parental and child behavior and beliefs and beliefs of families with asthma children.
The children were asked if their asthma ever caused them to be bullied or made fun of. The child’s asthma control (GINA) was determined by the fact that they had experienced daytime asthma symptoms more frequently than twice a month; was awake in the night from asthma; used a relief inhaler more than twice a weeks; or had had to limit their activities due to asthma.
It was also calculated using the Childhood-Asthma Control Test where scores of 19 or less indicates asthma that is not well controlled more than 20 indicates asthma well-controlled.
Children were asked to rate their asthma by selecting from: I just get it occasionally but not too bad; quite bad; or extremely bad. Similarly, parents were asked to describe their child’s asthma by choosing from the descriptors, or intermittent, mild, moderate or severe.
Parents were also asked to rate their concern about their child’s health at different moments and in various situations.
Asthma was well controlled by 358 out of 930 (38.5 percent) and 312 of 714 (44.4%) children (C–ACT score).
One of ten children (93) said they were bullied or teased due to their asthma. This was the case across all ages and across six countries. A third (34%;37 percent) of children were between 8-10 years old; 27 percent (29 percent) were between 11-13 years old and 13 percent; and 32% (34%) were between 14-15 years.
Asthma control was worse among those who reported having been bullied or teased because of their condition.
Children who had asthma symptoms that were well managed (GINA) were nearly half as likely (49 percent) to report being victims of bullying/teasing related to asthma as children with poorly controlled symptoms. And a C-ACT score of 20 or more that indicates good symptom control was associated with a 54% lower chance of being bullied.
Children who were bullied or teased due to their asthma were also 74 percent more likely to experience restrictions on their activities.
Bullying and taunting associated with asthma was three times more prevalent among those who stated that their asthma was “quite” or “very bad”.
Parental worry about their child’s health was strongly connected to that child’s reporting of bullying, but parents’ evaluation of their child’s asthma control wasn’t significantly linked to a higher chance of bullying/teasing.
” The cross-sectional nature of this study as well as the exclusion of children without asthma preclude causal inference.” caution the researchers.
They also point out that bullying is a neglected but well-known complication of asthma. It has long-termand significant effects. Yet children are seldom confronted about their relationships with peers by their health professionals.
“Clinicians should ask specific questions about bullying and bullying risk to determine if there’s any bullying or bullying.
Charles, R. et. and. (2021) What is the reason children with asthma bullied? A risk factor analysis. Archives of Disease in Childhood. doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2021-321641.
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