Information for parents: Bullying
School can present unique challenges and concerns for young people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, whether they are in elementary, middle or high school. Your child may be embarrassed about their psoriasis showing or that their psoriatic arthritis will prevent them from keeping up with classmates in PE or at recess. Or, they may be worried about staring or teasing from other kids. For many children living with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, there's a very real chance they could be victimized by bullies at school, according to a recent survey.
Childhood psoriasis and bullying: National Psoriasis Foundation survey snapshot
The National Psoriasis Foundation surveyed parents of children with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis to document their child's challenges with bullying and discrimination as a result of the disease. Highlights from the survey are below.
Psoriasis and bullying
During the past six months, nearly half (44 percent) of the children surveyed had been bullied at least once or twice. Of those bullied:
- 83.3 percent were teased.
- 44.4 percent were excluded or left out.
- 27.8 percent were called names.
- 22.2 percent were threatened or intimidated.
- 17.2 percent were hit, pushed or kicked.
Thirty-eight percent (38 percent) of respondents who were bullied said the abuse was a direct result of his/her psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
Effects of bullying
The emotional effect of bullying on children with psoriatic disease is great. As a result of bullying, those surveyed said:
- The most common reaction to the bullying was anxiety (65 percent).
- Almost half (47 percent) of those bullied reported crying.
- 23.5 percent said it caused them to have difficulties sleeping; 23.5 percent said it caused a decrease in academic performance.
- 17.6 percent of those bullied said they choose not to participate in school/group activities.
Actions taken as a result of the bullying
As a result of their child's bullying, parents who responded reported taking the following actions:
- 87 percent have educated teachers/staff at their child's school about psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
- 65 percent have spoken to the parents of their child's friends about the diseases.
- 57 percent have educated their child's classmates about the disease.
Read more about the survey, including respondent demographics >
What can you do?
Watch your child for signs of bullying (including anxiety, moodiness, difficulty sleeping). Talk to your child about bullying—tell them they can talk to you or another adult about what they are experiencing and reassure them that it's not their fault! Talk to your child's teacher and the school counselor and ask for their support. Learn about the bullying laws in your community. If you have serious concerns about the safety of your child and you are not getting support from school personnel, you may need to approach legal authorities.
Share tips with your child for dealing with bullies.
The National Psoriasis Foundation and other organizations have resources that can help you talk to your child's teacher and classmates about psoriasis:
- Information about helping your child at school
- StopBullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying.