Subjective health complaints and exposure to peer victimization among disabled and non-disabled adolescents: A population-based study in Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


AIMS: To investigate subjective health complaints (SHCs) (psychological and somatic, respectively) among disabled and non-disabled adolescents, focusing on the impact of traditional bullying and cyber harassment, and furthermore to report psychological and somatic SHCs across different types of disability.

METHODS: Data from the public health survey of children and adolescents in Scania, Sweden, 2012 was used. A questionnaire was answered anonymously in school by 9791 students in the 9th grade (response rate 83%), and 7533 of these with valid answers on key questions were included in this study. Associations with daily SHCs were investigated by multi-adjusted logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS: Any disability was reported by 24.1% of boys and 22.0% of girls. Disabled students were more exposed to cyber harassment (boys: 20.0%; girls: 28.2%) than non-disabled peers (boys: 11.8%; girls: 18.1%). Exposure to traditional bullying showed the same pattern but with a lower prevalence. Disabled students had around doubled odds of both daily psychological SHCs and daily somatic SHCs in the fully adjusted models. In general, the odds increased with exposure to cyber harassment or traditional bullying and the highest odds were seen among disabled students exposed to both cyber harassment and traditional bullying. Students with ADHD/ADD had the highest odds of daily psychological SHCs as well as exposure to traditional bullying across six disability types.

CONCLUSIONS: Disabled adolescents report poorer health and are more exposed to both traditional bullying and cyber harassment. This public health issue needs more attention in schools and in society in general.


External organisations
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
Early online date2017 Jul 11
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

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Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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