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Special Issue on Bullying and Suicide Highlights Association Between Behaviors Article

posted Jun 20, 2013, 2:36 PM by Anastasia Quinn Keck
Jun 20, 2013

The Journal of Adolescent Health released online a special issue of eight papers on the relationship between bullying and suicide. The findings described in the articles help clarify the complicated issues surrounding bullying and suicide among youth.

CDC held a panel in September 2010 where experts presented research focusing on the relationship between youth involvement in bullying (youth who bully, youth who are bullied, and those who bully and are bullied) and suicide-related behaviors (attempts, fatalities, and risk factors associated with suicide such as depression). Their work is published in this special issue.

Some key findings:

·         Bullying among youth is a significant public health problem; it is prevalent and frequently has detrimental effects.
·         There is a strong association between involvement in bullying as a victim, perpetrator, or both and suicide-related behaviors, however causality cannot be determined.
·         Youth who bully, are bullied, or are involved in both as a bully-victim, are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and attempts than those youth not involved in any way.
·         Youth who are involved in bullying and suicide-related behaviors are also more likely to have other risk factors, such as depression, delinquency, physical and sexual abuse, and exposure to violence.
·         Estimates of bullying vary considerably across studies depending on the measures used and the age groups studied. A substantial proportion of young people in middle and high school are involved in bullying as a victim or perpetrator:
·         6 percent – 23 percent reported perpetrating bullying
·         10 percent – 17 percent reported being a victim of bullying
·         3 percent – 19 percent reported being both a victim and a perpetrator of bullying (bully-victim)

There are public health strategies that can be applied to the prevention of bullying and suicide. For example, increased connectedness among youth and parents, other adults, and teachers may decrease bullying and suicide behaviors.
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