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Ambul Pediatr. 2007 May-Jun;7(3):253-7.

Bullying among children with autism and the influence of comorbidity with ADHD: a population-based study.

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  • 1Children's Institute, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, USA. gmontes@childrensinstitute.net

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Bullying is a significant problem among school-age children. The prevalence and predictors of bullying among children with autism are not known. The objectives of this population-based study were to: (1) estimate the prevalence of bullying among children with autism in the United States, (2) determine whether the presence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder/attention-deficit disorder (ADHD/ADD) increases prevalence of bullying among children with autism, and (3) determine risk factors of bullying behavior among children with autism.

METHODS:

The National Survey of Children's Health, 2003 (NSCH), provided nationally representative data for children ages 4 to 17. We used multivariate logistic regression and Wald tests to determine whether children with autism were more likely to bully in the presence of ADHD/ADD. Taylor approximations were used to account for the complex sampling design.

RESULTS:

Children with autism had a high prevalence of bullying (44%, 95% confidence interval, 34-55). Parent report of ADHD/ADD appears to moderate the relationship between bullying and autism. Children with autism who did not have ADHD/ADD were not at greater risk for bullying compared with the general population. Children with autism and ADHD/ADD had increased odds of bullying (odds ratio 4.6, 95% confidence interval 2.4-8.6), even after controlling for household income, age, and gender. In addition to ADHD/ADD, living in a low-income household and younger age were risk factors for bullying among children with autism. Being female, however, did not decrease the risk of bullying in the autistic subpopulation.

CONCLUSIONS:

Children with autism and ADHD/ADD appear to be at increased risk for bullying behaviors.

PMID:
17512887
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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