Victims of bullying among students with a disability or chronic illness and their peers: a cross-national study between Ireland and France

J Adolesc Health. 2011 May;48(5):461-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.07.031. Epub 2010 Oct 8.


Purpose: To explore bullying victimization among French and Irish students with a disability or chronic illness (D/CI), considering individual, social, and family factors. We investigated this issue in France and Ireland because of the documented differences between these two countries on relevant contextual factors.

Methods: Data from 12,048 students aged 11, 13, and 15 years (50.1% were boys) as part of the cross-national study 2006 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children were analyzed. Self-completion questionnaires were administered in classrooms; information on socio-demographic characteristics, bullying involvement, D/CI, school participation, social network, and family were collected. Multivariate logistic regressions were performed with individual, social, and family cofactors.

Results: Overall, the prevalence of bullying victimization was significantly higher in France compared with Ireland (34.2% [33.1-35.5] and 25.9% [24.5-27.4, respectively]). Youngest were more likely to report victimization; however, no gender differences were observed. In both countries, students with D/CI were significantly more likely to report that they have been bullied compared with students without D/CI, and a significant additional risk of being bullied was found when students reported D/CI with restriction in school participation. Regardless of country and D/CI status, being bullied was significantly associated with weaker social support and difficulty of communication with fathers, with even stronger associations found among students with D/CI.

Conclusion: Adolescents with D/CI are more likely to be victimized than their peers, with a similar risk in both countries. Besides individual, social and family factors are consistently associated to bullying victimization across countries. These results will guide future antibullying prevention programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bullying* / psychology
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease*
  • Crime Victims* / statistics & numerical data
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Peer Group*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires