Nearly half of kids with psoriasis surveyed report being bullied
Survey finds emotional impact of the disease greatly affects children
PORTLAND, Ore. (Oct. 25, 2010)—Almost half of children with psoriasis surveyed by the National Psoriasis Foundation report being bullied at least once in the last six months. The Psoriasis Foundation surveyed parents of kids with psoriatic disease and found that 44 percent of children have been bullied by their peers, and 38 percent of kids say the abuse was a direct result of their disease.
The survey found the most common forms of bullying endured by these children are teasing, being excluded by classmates and name calling. According to the survey, the emotional impact of this abuse on children was great:
- More than 60 percent of those bullied say it causes anxiety
- Nearly half (47 percent) of those bullied report crying
- Nearly one-quarter (23.5 percent) of those bullied had a decrease in academic performance
- Nearly one-quarter (23.5 percent) of those bullied had difficulty sleeping
One parent reports that because of the teasing her daughter "locks herself in her bedroom and refuses to socialize with other kids." Another child's parents say their son was forced to switch schools after the abuse became physical. The survey findings reveal that other children experience panic attacks, low self-esteem and bouts of depression.
Psoriasis, a chronic, noncontagious disease of the immune system that appears on the skin, is the most common autoimmune disease in the country—affecting as many as 7.5 million Americans and an estimated 500,000 children. Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, a related joint condition. Nearly one-third of people develop psoriasis before age 20, yet this youth population is often underserved.
In an effort to demonstrate the challenges of childhood psoriasis and the need for public awareness, the National Psoriasis Foundation surveyed parents about bullying in conjunction with World Psoriasis Day, a global event held each year on Oct. 29. This year's theme, "Childhood psoriasis: A challenge for us all," highlights the effect of psoriasis on children and their families.
To combat bullying, many survey respondents say they have spoken to their child's teachers and school staff about psoriasis. They also have educated their child's classmates about the disease and spoken directly with parents of their child's friends.
This year's World Psoriasis Day event in the United States gives children and families additional opportunities to tackle bullying by raising awareness about the seriousness of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. On Oct. 29, the National Psoriasis Foundation wants to empower kids, and their families, to take action for a cure by participating in activities at www.psoriasis.org/wpd.
For more information about the survey on childhood bullying and psoriasis, visit www.psoriasis.org/wpd. To learn more about World Psoriasis Day around the globe, visit www.worldpsoriasisday.com.
About the National Psoriasis Foundation
National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the world's largest organization serving people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Our priority is to provide the information and services for people to take control of their condition, while increasing research to find a cure. In addition to serving more than 2.1 million people annually through our patient and professional education and advocacy initiatives, NPF has funded more than $10 million in psoriatic disease research. Visit us online at www.psoriasis.org or call 800.723.9166. Follow NPF on Facebook and Twitter.