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Study Finds Almost Half of Autistic Teens Are Bullied

Study Finds Almost Half of Autistic Teens Are BulliedA new study finds that nearly half of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are victims of bullying.

A sample of 920 parents revealed that approximately 46 percent of teens with ASD were bullied, according to a report published online by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

In the latest study, Paul R. Sterzing, Ph.D., M.S.S.W., and colleagues used nationally representative surveys to identify the prevalence of bullying involvement. At present, there is little research on bullying of teens with ASD.

They discovered the prevalence of bullying involvement for adolescents with an ASD was “substantially higher” than the national prevalence of bullying among the general adolescent population (10.6 percent).

Victims of the bullying were more likely to be teens with ASD of non-Hispanic ethnicity. The teen victims were also more likely to display attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, possess lower social skills, and present some form of challenged conversational ability.

Perpetration was correlated with being white, having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and getting together with friends at least once a week.

As ASD teens often have communication challenges, reporting of bullying behavior is often inadequate.

These findings complement another recent study demonstrating that children and teens with chronic health problems, like asthma, also finds themselves bullied more often.

“Future interventions should incorporate content that addresses the core deficits of adolescents with an ASD, which limits their verbal ability to report bullying incidents,” the authors said. “Schools should incorporate strategies that address conversational difficulties and the unique challenges of those with comorbid conditions.”

Researchers say classrooms need to be designed to help improve the social integration of adolescents with an ASD.

Specifically, students need training to improve their knowledge of ASD, thereby enhancing the empathy and social skills of students toward their peers with an ASD and other developmental disabilities.

Source: JAMA

Teenager being bullied photo by shutterstock.

Study Finds Almost Half of Autistic Teens Are Bullied

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Study Finds Almost Half of Autistic Teens Are Bullied. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 24, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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