Bullied students more likely to use analgesics
Students who were bullied used analgesics more than their non-bullied peers, according to findings from an Icelandic cohort that were recently published in Acta Paediatrica.
“[A] study was conducted in Denmark in 2005–2006 and showed that being a victim of bullying was associated with elevated self-reported use of medicine for headaches, stomachaches, sleep difficulties and nervousness. This increased use has not been explained by the higher prevalence of symptoms,” Pernilla Garmy, PhD, of the health sciences faculty at Kristianstad University in Sweden, and colleagues wrote.
“Therefore, it is important to explore if the results are similar in another setting and at another time,” they added.
Sixth, eighth and 10th graders (n = 10,626 students; mean age = 11, 13 and 15 years) were asked questions regarding the reason for their analgesic use (headache, stomachache, back, neck and/or shoulder pain), type of analgesic used (paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin and/or diclofenac) and how often they had been bullied in the past few months.
Garmy and colleagues found that except for ibuprofen, the use of analgesics to alleviate headache, stomachache, back, neck and shoulder pain was significantly higher among bullied students than among nonbullied peers. Though the relationship was seen in boys and girls, the girls used analgesics significantly more frequently than boys.
“These results agree with a prior Danish study of adolescents,” researchers wrote. “This should be taken seriously because an increased use of analgesics is significantly associated with an increased risk for chronic pain (especially migraines) 11 years later.”
Garmy and colleagues also suggested that the causal links between bullying, pain and the use of pain medication among those being bullied; the onset of pain; the use of medication for easing of pain; the other coping behaviors of children experiencing pain, the potential overlap between different medications, and grouping results among academic grades be studied in the future. – by Janel Miller
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.