(HealthDay News) – Results of a recent meta-analysis confirm previous findings that being bullied is associated with psychosomatic problems in school-aged children; the research has been published online Sept. 16 in Pediatrics.

Gianluca Gini, PhD, and Tiziana Pozzoli, PhD, of the University of Padua in Italy, conducted a meta-analysis of studies examining the association between being bullied and psychosomatic complaints in children and adolescents.

The researchers found a significantly higher risk of psychosomatic problems in bullied children compared with non-bullied peers in separate random effects meta-analyses of six longitudinal studies (odds ratio, 2.39) and 24 cross-sectional studies (odds ratio, 2.17). In the analysis of the cross-sectional studies, the strength of the association between being bullied and having health problems decreased significantly as the proportion of girls in the sample increased.

“Pediatricians can play an important role in detecting potential victims of bullying if they consider bullying as a possible risk factor in any patient with recurrent headaches, breathing problems, poor appetite, sleeping problems, and so on,” the authors write.

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