A study based on information collected from 920 parents suggests an estimated 46.3 percent of adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder were the victims of bullying, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a JAMA Network publication.
Bullying involves negative actions toward a peer and is characterized by a power imbalance - physical, social or cognitive - between the victim and the perpetrator. Relatively little research has examined bullying involvement among adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to the study background.
Paul R. Sterzing, Ph.D., M.S.S.W., previously of Washington University, St. Louis but now affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues used nationally representative surveys to identify the prevalence of bullying involvement, compare prevalence rates of bullying involvement with adolescents with developmental disabilities that overlap with the core deficits of an ASD, and identify the social ecological correlates of bullying involvement.
The prevalence of bullying involvement for adolescents with an ASD was 46.3 percent for victimization and was "substantially higher" than the national prevalence estimates for the general adolescent population (10.6 percent). The rates of perpetration of bullying (14.8 percent) and victimization/perpetration (8.9 percent, i.e. those who perpetrate and are victimized), were about equivalent to national estimates found among typically developing adolescents, according to the study results.