Being Left Out Puts Youths With Special Needs at Risk for Depression
Features Margaret Ellis McKenna, MD, Medical University of South Carolina
The challenges that come with battling a chronic medical condition or developmental disability are enough to get a young person down. But being left out, ignored or bullied by their peers is the main reason youths with special health care needs report symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to a study to be presented`123 April 29, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.
Being bullied has been shown to increase students' risk for academic and emotional problems. Little research has been done specifically on how being a victim of bullying affects youths with special needs.
In this study, researchers led by Margaret Ellis McKenna, MD, senior fellow in developmental-behavioral pediatrics at Medical University of South Carolina, investigated the impact of bullying, ostracism and diagnosis of a chronic medical condition on the emotional well-being of youths with special health care needs.
Participants ages 8-17 years were recruited from a children's hospital during routine visits with their physicians. A total of 109 youths and their parents/guardians completed questionnaires that screen for symptoms of anxiety and depression. Youths also completed a screening tool that assessed whether they had been bullied or excluded by their peers.
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Posted to Members in the News & Publications on April 30, 2012