Objective: To compare the prevalence and intensity of victimization from bullying, and the characteristics of the victims of bullying, comparing adolescents with and without chronic conditions.
Design: School survey.
Setting: Post-mandatory schools.
Participants: A total of 7005 students (48% females) aged 16-20 years, distributed into adolescents with chronic conditions (728, 50% females) and controls (6277, 48% females). Chronic condition was defined as having a chronic disease and/or a physical disability.
Outcome measures: Prevalence of bullying; intensity of bullying; and socio-demographic, bio-psychosocial, familial, school, and violence context characteristics of the victims of bullying.
Results: The prevalence of bullying in our sample was 13.85%. Adolescents with chronic conditions were more likely to be victims of bullying (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] 1.53), and to be victims of two or three forms of bullying (AOR 1.92). Victims of bullying with chronic conditions were more likely than non-victims to be depressed (Relative Risk Ratio [RRR] 1.57), to have more physical symptoms (RRR 1.61), to have a poorer relationship with their parents (RRR 1.33), to have a poorer school climate (RRR 1.60), and to have been victims of sexual abuse (RRR 1.79) or other forms of violence (RRR 1.80). Although these characteristics apply to victims in general, in most cases they are less pronounced among victims without chronic conditions.
Conclusions: Chronic conditions seem to be a risk factor for victimization from bullying. Therefore, as adolescents with chronic conditions are increasingly mainstreamed, schools should be encouraged to undertake preventive measures to avoid victimization of such adolescents.