(HealthDay News) — Being bullied at age 8 or 10 is associated with increased risk of parasomnia at age 12, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, held from May 3–6 in Vancouver, Canada.

Suzet Tanya Lereya, PhD, from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the correlation between bullying status at 8 and 10 years and sleep problems at 12 years. Data were collected from 6,438 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Children and Adolescent birth cohort.

The researchers found that 36.0% of children had at least one type of parasomnia at age 12 years: 24.2% of children had nightmares, 9.3% had night terrors, and 12.6% reported sleep walking. There was a significant correlation between being a pure victim at age 8 or 10 years and having nightmares (8 years: odds ratio [OR], 1.21; 10 years: OR, 1.60) and night terrors (8 years: OR, 1.36; 10 years: OR, 1.51), after adjustment for potential confounders related to bullying and sleep. The risk of any parasomnia was significantly increased with being a bully/victim at ages 8 or 10 years (8 years: OR, 1.45; 10 years: OR, 1.68). No increased risk of parasomnia was seen for bullies.

“Our findings indicate that being bullied is a significant stress/trauma that leads to increased risk of sleep arousal problems, such as nightmares or night terrors,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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