ADHD News & Research

Study: Bullying More Prevalent Among Children with ADHD

Nearly half of children with ADHD are victims of bullying and 16% have bullied other children, according to a new study that shows the prevalence of bullying is double that experienced by neurotypical children.

April 10, 2022

Nearly half of children with ADHD are victims of bullying and 16% have bullied other children — more than double the amount of bullying experienced by neurotypical peers — according to a new study in the Journal of Attention Disorders.1

Using data from the 2016-2017 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), researchers identified predictors of parent-reported bullying victimization (BV) or bullying perpetration (BP) in children with ADHD aged 6-17. In the survey, parents considered the phrases “This child is bullied, picked on, or excluded by other children” and “This child bullies others, picks on them, or excludes them” and rated each one “Definitely true,” “Somewhat true,” or “Not true” to indicate BV or BP.

Children who had difficulty making or keeping friends were at high risk of being bullied, the survey data suggested. Other factors associated with victimization included family financial strain, developmental delay or intellectual disability, friendship difficulties, and the frequency of school contact with the family.1

Boys were more likely than girls, and younger children were more likely than older children, to perpetrate bullying. The strongest predicator of bullying behavior was a child who “argues too much.” Other significant predicators for BP included receipt of three or four types of government assistance, difficulty staying calm, friendship challenges, lack of interest/engagement in school, and number of times the school contacted the family.

Among the children in the study, the majority (68%) were male, and 58% were non-Hispanic white. More than half received one or more types of government assistance, and 73% of parents reported financial strain.

“We found that difficulty covering basic needs portended BV and receipt of government assistance portended BP among children with ADHD,” the study’s authors said.1

The majority of the children (64%) were taking medications for ADHD, while slightly less than half (45%) had received ADHD behavioral treatment.


1Cuba Bustinza, C., Adams, R. E., Claussen, A. H., Vitucci, D., Danielson, M. L., Holbrook, J. R., Charania, S. N., Yamamoto, K., Nidey, N., & Froehlich, T. E. (2022). Factors Associated With Bullying Victimization and Bullying Perpetration in Children and Adolescents With ADHD: 2016 to 2017 National Survey of Children’s Health. Journal of Attention Disorders.