ADHD and Medical Correlates of Bullying of Pediatric Neurofibromatosis Patients
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Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is an autosomal dominant disorder that involves nervous system tumor growth, and it is one of the most frequently occurring genetic disorders. NF1 is a multisystem disease with a complex phenotype. Given the range in severity of presentation in NF1, research has shown that disease severity could impact children's social-emotional functioning. Physical deformities such as tumor growth often are associated with NF1, and as a result, children and adolescents with NF1 may be at greater risk for being victims of bullying by peers. Children with NF1 also tend to have higher rates of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as compared to children without NF1 (Barton & North, 2004; Martin et al., 2012). Common issues experienced by children with ADHD, such as social immaturity and behavioral dysregulation, may put them at higher risk for both bullying and peer victimization (Wiener & Mak, 2009; Unnever & Cornell, 2003). Overall, the current study found that parentreported ADHD symptoms predicted parent-reported but not self-reported bullying. Furthermore, the current study found that parent-reported ADHD symptoms were more predictive of being bullied than provider-rated severity of physical deformity. Since the present study was the first to examine whether physical appearance and ADHD symptoms may be associated with bullying in children with NF1, the novel information gained from the study may be used to direct future research, educate parents and teachers, and inform the development of interventions specific to the NF1 population.