Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 455–465 | Cite as

Suboptimal Maternal and Paternal Mental Health are Associated with Child Bullying Perpetration

  • Rashmi ShetgiriEmail author
  • Hua Lin
  • Glenn Flores
Original Article


This study examines associations between maternal and paternal mental health and child bullying perpetration among school-age children, and whether having one or both parents with suboptimal mental health is associated with bullying. The 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health, a nationally-representative, random-digit-dial survey, was analyzed, using a parent-reported bullying measure. Suboptimal mental health was defined as fair/poor (vs. good/very good/excellent) parental self-reported mental and emotional health. Of the 61,613 parents surveyed, more than half were parents of boys and were white, 20 % were Latino, 15 % African American, and 7 % other race/ethnicity. Suboptimal maternal (OR 1.4; 95 % CI 1.1–1.8) and paternal (OR 1.5; 95 % CI 1.1–2.2) mental health are associated with bullying. Compared with children with no parents with suboptimal mental health, children with only one or both parents with suboptimal mental health have higher bullying odds. Addressing the mental health of both parents may prove beneficial in preventing bullying.


Bullying Mental health Parents Health surveys 



Supported in part by Grant # K23HD068401 to Dr. Shetgiri from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors, and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of General Pediatrics, Department of PediatricsUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  2. 2.Children’s Medical CenterDallasUSA

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