Mental health and the impact of bullying

Kilpatrick, T., Leitão, S., & Boyes, M. (2019). Mental health in adolescents with a history of developmental language disorder: The moderating effect of bullying victimisation. Autism & Developmental Language Impairments. https://doi.org/10.1177/2396941519893313


Aim of the paper:


This study looks at how adolescents’ mental health is affected when they have a history of DLD. This is done by looking at the link between having a history DLD and factors impacting mental health. These factors include self-esteem, bullying victimisation and symptoms of poor mental health. Symptoms of poor mental health include anxiety, depression and attention difficulties.


This study also looks at whether bullying victimisation and self-esteem are involved in the link between DLD and mental health symptoms.

Key term-

Bullying victimisation: Being the victim of bullying

What they found:


  • There was a strong link between bullying victimisation and symptoms of poor mental health.

  • There was no relationship between having a history of DLD and self-esteem.

  • There was no significant relationship between having a history of DLD and overall symptoms of poor mental health. However, adolescents with a history of DLD who have also been bullied show more symptoms of poor mental health.

What does this mean?


In summary, the study found no strong, direct associations between having a history of DLD, self-esteem and overall mental health outcomes. However, adolescents with a history of DLD are at risk of developing poor mental health symptoms when they have also been victims of bullying. These findings suggest that more emphasis should be placed on anti-bullying interventions to prevent poor mental health in young people with DLD. Additionally, clinicians have a crucial responsibility to pay careful attention to the wellbeing of clients with DLD, so that their mental health can be maintained.


Where can I read this paper?


This paper is open access, which means everyone can read it.

Please click here to find the full paper.