Bullying in medically fragile youth: A review of risks, protective factors, and recommendations for medical providers

Melissa A. Faith, Gabriela Reed, Celia E. Heppner, Lillian C. Hamill, Tahnae R. Tarkenton, Crista W. Donewar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Bullying is a common child and adolescent phenomenon that has concurrent and long-term implications for victims' psychological, psychosomatic, social, and academic functioning. Youth with chronic illnesses are at increased risk for being bullied, but few studies have evaluated specific risk and protective factors for medically fragile youth. Despite recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society for Adolescent Medicine that pediatric health care providers should contribute to bullying prevention and intervention efforts, researchers also have yet to identify the best ways for providers to intervene with medically fragile youth. In this article, the authors review risk and protective factors for bullying among healthy samples. Then, the authors specifically address the ways in which these risk and protective factors are likely to apply to children with fragile medical conditions, and they provide summaries of extant bullying research for selected examples of medically fragile pediatric populations. Finally, the authors present recommendations for intervening with medically fragile youth and suggest several areas in which additional research is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-301
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 13 2015


  • Index terms: bullying
  • adolescent
  • child
  • chronic illness
  • medically fragile
  • peer victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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