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South African Journal of Psychiatry

versión On-line ISSN 2078-6786
versión impresa ISSN 1608-9685


MASAKALA, Mosa et al. Psychiatric morbidity in children involved in bullying treated at the Free State Psychiatric Complex. S. Afr. j. psyc. [online]. 2023, vol.29, n.1, pp.1-6. ISSN 2078-6786.

BACKGROUND: Bullying is a multifaceted problem with many consequences. AIM: This study aimed to determine the psychiatric morbidity of children involved in bullying, either as bullies or victims, treated at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Care Centre of the Free State Psychiatric Complex (FSPC). SETTING: Free State Psychiatric Complex, Bloemfontein, South Africa. METHODS: This retrospective cross-sectional study included children under 18 years treated at the FSPC Care Centre between January and September 2017. Information was extracted from patient files. RESULTS: Of 288 patients, 98 (34.0%) were involved in bullying: 66 were bullies, 28 victims, 3 bully-victims, and 1 unspecified. For gender and family structure, there were no statistically significant differences between children involved and those not involved in bullying and between bullies and victims. Almost all bullies (95.4%) had aggression as presenting complaint compared with 39.3% of the victims (p < 0.01). Statistically significantly more victims, than bullies, reported sadness (21.4%, 4.6%, p = 0.02). Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was diagnosed in most children, both involved (73.5%) and not involved (63.2%). Statistically significant differences for the presence of conduct disorder were found between children involved and those not involved in bullying (31.6%, 10.0%, p < 0.01) and between bullies and victims (39.4%, 14.3%, p = 0.02. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of conduct disorder diagnosis was more common in bullies than in victims and those involved in bullying as opposed to those not involved. CONTRIBUTION: Psychiatric information of bullying victims and perpetrators in the Free State, which had a high prevalence of bullying in a national survey.

Palabras clave : bullying; victims and bullies; psychiatric conditions; health profile; involved versus not involved.

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