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Are adolescents with chronic conditions particularly at risk for bullying?


Objective To compare the prevalence and intensity of victimisation from bullying and the characteristics of the victim of bullying, comparing adolescents with and adolescents without chronic conditions (CC).

Design School survey.

Setting Postmandatory schools.

Participants A total of 7005 students (48% females) aged 16–20 years, distributed into adolescents with CC (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 sociodemographic, biopsychosocial, familial, school and violence context characteristics of the victims of bullying.

Results The prevalence of bullying in our sample was 13.85%. Adolescents with CC were more likely to be victims of bullying (adjusted OR 1.53), and to be victims of two or three forms of bullying (adjusted OR 1.92). Victims of bullying with CC were more likely than non-victims to be depressed (RR 1.57), to have more physical symptoms (RR 1.61), to have a poorer relationship with their parents (RR 1.33), to have a poorer school climate (RR 1.60) and to have been victims of sexual abuse (RR 1.79) or other forms of violence (RR 1.80). Although these characteristics apply to victims in general, in most cases, they are less pronounced among victims without CC.

Conclusions CC seems to be a risk factor for victimisation from bullying. Therefore, as adolescents with CC are increasingly mainstreamed, schools should be encouraged to undertake preventive measures to avoid victimisation of such adolescents.

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