To compare levels of victimization and perpetration associated with bullying among children and adolescents with and without chronic physical illnesses and/or physical or sensory disabilities.
In total, 107 studies were identified using a systematic search in electronic databases and cross-referencing. A random-effects meta-analysis was computed.
Children and adolescents with chronic physical illness or disability were more likely to be victims of bullying in general (odds ratio [OR] = 1.65), particularly physical bullying (OR = 1.47), relational bullying (OR = 1.47), verbal bullying (OR = 1.67), cyberbullying (OR = 1.39), and illness-specific teasing (OR = 5.29). They were also more likely to be bullies in general (OR = 1.28), as well physical (OR = 1.38) and relational bullies (OR = 1.13). The effect sizes varied across different illnesses and disabilities and, in part, by visibility of the disease, school type, and year of assessment.
Although most between-group differences tend to be small, some form of intervention is needed to reduce bullying among children and adolescents with chronic physical illnesses and/or physical or sensory disabilities, and illness-specific weight- and appearance-related teasing in particular.