Research Article| Volume 15, ISSUE 4, P500-505, August 2009

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Are children with epilepsy at greater risk for bullying than their peers?


      The primary goal of this study was to determine the prevalence of bullying in children with epilepsy compared with their healthy peers and peers with chronic disease. Children with epilepsy were compared with healthy children and a cohort of children with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The following self-report questionnaires were completed: Revised Olweus Bully/Victim, Piers–Harris Self-Concept Scale, Revised Child Manifest Anxiety Scale, Child Depression Index, and Social Skills Rating System. Children with epilepsy were more frequently victims of bullying (42%) than were healthy controls (21%) or children with CKD (18%) (P = 0.01). Epilepsy factors such as early age at seizure onset, seizure type, and refractory epilepsy were not found to be predictors of victim status. Surprisingly, poor social skills, increased problem behaviors, poor self-concept, depression, and anxiety did not correlate with bully victim status. The relatively high prevalence of bullying behaviors in these children is concerning and, from a clinical standpoint, requires greater research specifically addressing peer relationships and consideration of the implementation of anti-bullying measures and coping strategies for children with epilepsy.


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