The reported effects of bullying on burn-surviving children

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Journal of Burn Care and Research


There is a trend of increasing childhood aggression in America, which has been tied to bullying. Although there is growing research concerning bullying in the general pediatric population, there are limited data on bullying and its effects on children with disfigurements and physical limitations. This study was conducted to assess burned children's experience with bullying. A pretest was administered regarding experience with bullying and teasing. A curriculum regarding bullying, which incorporated the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone movie, was presented. After reviewing bullying depicted in the film and participating in a class regarding bullying, children were invited to complete a survey regarding their experience with bullying. A total of 61% of these children reported being bullied at school; 25% reported experiencing headaches or stomachaches due to bullying, and 12% reported staying home from school. Nearly 25% reported bullying as a big problem. Of those with visible scars (55%), a full 68% reported bullying as a problem, versus 54% with hidden scars (P < .05). However, those with visible scars were no more likely to tell an adult (54%) than those without (56%). Children were much more willing to disclose personal bullying experiences after participating in the class (57%) than before (45%) (P < .01). This study revealed that bullying impacts many burn-injured children and has negative effects on their physical and mental well-being. Many children (with visible or hidden scars) did not seek adult intervention for the problem. Participation in a bullying course appears to give children a forum that increases their willingness to disclose personal bullying experiences and can provide them with prevention information and a safe place to seek help. © 2007 The American Burn Association.

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