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Journal Article


Nagi T, Somvanshi S, Balasubramania Pandian GSD, Mohan S, Seegobin SA, Altonen B. Cureus 2023; 15(4): e37301.


(Copyright © 2023, Curēus)








Background Bullying is a complex abusive behavior with potentially serious consequences. Persons who bully and those who are bullied have consistently been found to have higher levels of depression, suicidal ideation, physical injury, distractibility, somatic problems, anxiety, poor self-esteem, and school absenteeism than those not involved with bullying.

OBJECTIVES To our knowledge, no study has compared physicians' practices of bullying prevention across different hospital settings and the effect of these practices on parents' level of awareness. This article represents a subset (phase I) of the inter-departmental quality improvement study for comparing practices of healthcare professionals regarding bullying prevention between the pediatric outpatient clinic and child & adolescent psychiatry outpatient clinic, and parents' awareness about provider's anti-bullying practices.

METHODS Phase I was conducted as a cross-sectional study with the target population of adolescents (age 12-17 yrs) and corresponding guardians, seeking care from healthcare providers (residents, fellows and attendings) in the child & adolescent outpatient psychiatry clinic and pediatric outpatient clinic. It targeted both patients and providers, with adolescents/guardians completing questionnaire about bullying experiences, physician's anti-bullying practices during past healthcare visits and adolescent Peer Relations Instrument. Providers answered questions about bullying assessing practices, level of self-preparedness and limitations.

RESULTS Data were analyzed in SAS 9.2 (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC) and SPSS (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY) and Chi-square tests were used for analyses of variables, and cross-comparing results for particular subsets. A total of 150 questionnaires were distributed. Among the provider surveys, self-reported level of preparedness (on a scale of 1-5; 1- least, 5-most) for assessing bullying was more in Psychiatry providers (Median 4, Mean 4.1) as compared to Pediatric providers (Median 3, Mean 2.9). In the first evaluation, very unprepared, unprepared and neutral (1, 2, 3) responses were contrasted with prepared to very prepared responses (4,5). The second evaluation excludes the neutral responses (3) and tests responses for the unprepared group (1,2) with the prepared group (4,5). The first evaluation resulted in Chi-Squared = 6.810, significant at p = 0.05 and the second evaluation resulted in Chi-squared = 4.774, also significant at p = 0.05.

CONCLUSIONS This study identifies differences in healthcare professional's anti-bullying practices and helps in identifying limiting factors. This identification of the practice gap helps in developing interventional strategies to improve the assessment of bullying situations across specialties.

Language: en


child and adolescent psychiatry; bullying and suicide; developmental and behavioural pediatrics; pediatrics & neonatology; physician practice variability; psychiatry and mental health


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