Bullying A Real Problem For Kids With Asthma
September 3, 2012

Why Are Asthmatic Youngsters More Likely To Be Bullied?

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The inability of asthmatic children to participate in sports, and the melancholy feelings those youngsters experience, are believed to be two of the primary reasons that they are frequently the victims of bullying, researchers from one UK hospital claim in a new study.

Dr. Will Carroll and colleagues from the Derbyshire Children's Hospital in the East Midlands region of England used data collected from the six-nation "Room to Breathe" childhood asthma study to determine what factors contributed to the increased likelihood that kids with asthma would be bullied, the European Lung Foundation (ELF) explained in a September 2 statement.

As part of the study, Dr. Carroll's team interviewed children at least seven years of age, as well as their parents. A total of 943 questionnaires were collected, with participants answering questions about conditions at home, as well as the lifestyles of both the parents and the kids and the overall experience with the ailment. Their findings, which were presented Sunday at the European Respiratory Society's (ERS) Annual Congress in Vienna, showed that there were multiple factors involved.

In addition to lack for participation in sports and the aforementioned feelings of sadness, which the researchers say were "significantly associated" with the increased bullying risk, other factors associated with bullying included poor asthma controls, parent's smoking habit, and parent's persistent concerns over their children's health.

"The study“¦ highlights the need for doctors to talk to children with asthma about bullying, as well as the impact the disease could be having in other areas of their life," ELF officials said. "Bullying or teasing of children with any chronic medical condition is common, yet it is not always clear what factors contribute to this."

"We know that bullying is associated with asthma and these findings can help us understand why this is case," added Dr. Carroll. "A number of the factors identified are things that can be changed, such as participation in sport, asthma control and parental worry over their child's health. As doctors, we must work with families to ensure these risk factors are removed and work with schools and teachers to ensure children with asthma are able to participate in sports at a level that is safe for them."