OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study is to describe the prevalence of bullying victimization among medically admitted patients with somatic symptom and related disorders (SSDs) and to compare demographic, diagnostic, and psychosocial characteristics of bullied versus nonbullied patients.
METHODS: Medically admitted patients at a tertiary pediatric facility referred to the Psychiatry Consultation Service with somatic concerns were assessed via a quality improvement (QI) initiative, the SSD Standardized Clinical Assessment and Management Plan (SSD-SCAMP). Retrospective chart and QI data on adolescent and young adult patients assessed via SSD-SCAMP from May 2012 - December 2014 were reviewed.
RESULTS: Medical records of 282 patients (aged 12–22 years) diagnosed with SSDs were reviewed. Approximately 37% had a history of bullying victimization. Compared with nonbullied patients, bullied patients had higher somatization scores, more functional neurologic symptoms, and longer admissions. Bullied patients also had higher rates of comorbid anxiety, suicidal histories, and family psychiatric histories. Furthermore, bullied patients also had higher rates of learning disabilities and school accommodations and endorsed more significant life events within the year before hospitalization.
CONCLUSIONS: This study describes the unique health and psychosocial challenges experienced by medically hospitalized bullied adolescents and young adults with SSDs. The findings highlight the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to assessment and management. By implementing QI initiatives such as the SSD-SCAMP, providers can bridge the gap between the clinical needs and long-term management of patients with SSDs.
- Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics