Bullying and mental health disorders

Children with mental health disorders may be more prone to bullying others, new research has suggested. Presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans, the study found these youngsters are three times more likely to victimise their peers than those who have not been diagnosed with such conditions.

According to the findings, kids suffering from depression are at greater risk of being identified as a bully, while those found to have an oppositional defiant disorder are even more likely to behave in this way.

Frances Turcotte-Benedict, a Masters student at Brown University and a Fellow at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, said: "These findings highlight the importance of providing psychological support not only to victims of bullying, but to bullies as well."

Ms Turcotte-Benedict added more research on the matter is needed in order to create anti-bullying preventions and intervention programmes that ultimately prove successful.

Chartered Psychologist Professor Helen Cowie said: 'This research confirms that bullies urgently need our help. They are more likely than non-bullies to engage in a range of maladaptive and anti-social behaviours; they have an increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. There is also a close relationship between  being nominated by peers as a bully  at different time points, suggesting a process of continuity.'

For further information on cyberbullying research click here.