According to a new study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, almost half of children with Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are victims of bullying — more than double the amount of bullying experienced by their neurotypical peers.
The survey also found that children with ADHD are also twice as likely to be the bully than their peers who were not diagnosed with ADHD.
Researchers looked at the data from the 2016-2017 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) of children between the ages of 6 and 17 with ADHD to assess any connections between parent-reported bullying victimization or perpetration and demographics, family and school factors, and child conditions and behaviors.
Among children with ADHD, 46.9% were the victims of bullying and 16.2% were the bullies themselves.
There were other risk factors associated with higher levels of being a victim of bullying, including “having family financial strain, developmental delay or intellectual disability, friendship difficulties, and school reports about problems.”
Parents who reported that their children had a difficult time making friends also reported higher rates of bully victimhood.
Factors linked to being the bully included “being male, receiving government assistance, lack of school engagement, school reports about problems, and having difficulties with friendships, staying calm, and arguing.” Arguing was factor most strongly linked to being a bully.
This isn’t the first study to link an increased risk of being the victim or perpetrator of bullying in children with ADHD.
Another study published in Nov. 2020 found that children with ADHD had an increased risk up to 17 times greater than their neurotypical peers of being classified as both the bully and the victim, and 3.7 times as likely to be classified as strictly a victim.
Children with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and learning disabilities have also been linked to higher rates of bullying.
Overall, an alarming one in four school-aged kids report being bullied.