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This article reviews the literature on bullying with particular reference to associated psychiatric symptoms and presents data and case examples from an inpatient and outpatient adolescent service and a school for emotionally and behaviourally disturbed children (EBD school). Bullying or its effects do not seem to be a distinguishing factor among those admitted to an adolescent unit. In the outpatient group, however, being bullied is frequently a factor in the presentation of adolescents to psychiatric services, with depression being the diagnosis in over 70% of cases. In contrast, bullies and bully/victims were most likely to present with conduct disorders, which were frequently co-morbid with hyperkinetic disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unsurprisingly, regardless of whether bully, victim, bully/victim or neither, the most common psychiatric diagnosis of the EBD school pupils who were interviewed was that of conduct disorder. This was sometimes co-morbid with AD(H)D but also seen alongside generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. In an adolescent unit and in an EBD school, being bullied or a bully is an important factor associated with psychiatric symptomatology and should be regarded as a substantial mental and public health issue.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry

Publication Date





563 - 579