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Bully victims with ADHD inflicted worse with pain and functional impairment

Pearl Toh
27 Feb 2017

Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who were bullied tend to suffer more pain and related functional impairment than nonvictims, leading to depression, anxiety, and poor sleep quality, suggests a study presented at the ASEAPS 2017 in Yangon, Myanmar.

The study involved 474 children and adolescents aged 6–18 years (mean age 11 years, 79.7 percent boys) with ADHD who were assessed for levels of pain and related functional impairment. Other assessments conducted included Children's Depression Index-Taiwanese version for depression, Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children-Taiwanese version for anxiety, and Athens Insomnia Scale on sleep quality. [ASEAPS 2017, abstract 15]

Of the total participants, 165 (34.8 percent) suffered from verbal and relational bullying, 71 (15 percent) from physical bullying, while 88 (18.6 percent) were perpetrators of verbal and relational bullying and 45 (9.5 percent) were perpetrators of physical bullying.

Compared with those who were not bullied, victims of verbal and relational bullying were more than twice as likely to experience significant pain (odds ratio [OR], 2.41, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.50–3.89) and functional impairment due to pain (OR, 3.06, 95 percent CI, 1.63–5.73).

Similarly, victims of physical bullying were also more likely to experience significant pain (OR, 2.34, 95 percent CI, 1.29-4.25) and pain-induced functional impairment (OR, 2.13, 95 percent CI, 1.06-4.26) than nonvictims.

Experiences of significant pain or functional impairment due to pain were significantly associated with depression, anxiety, and worse sleep quality compared with those without either experience (p<0.001 for all).  

In addition, individuals who carried out verbal and relational bullying on others were also more likely to experience significant pain than those who were not involved in bullying others (OR, 2.36, 95 percent CI, 1.38–4.04).

“Clinical and educational professionals should consider the possibility of involvement in bullying and comorbid depression, anxiety, and poor sleep quality among ADHD children and adolescents with pain problems,” suggests lead author Dr Cheng-Fang Yen from the Department of Psychiatry at Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.   

 

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