Bullying Victimization Associated With Suicidality in Adolescence

Bullying victimization has gained increasing attention as a risk factor for adolescent suicides in the wake of several highly publicized adolescent suicides.

Bullying victimization may be associated with an increased number of suicide attempts in adolescents from low- and middle-income countries, according to study results published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

The researchers analyzed health survey data from 48 low- and middle-income countries from 5 World Health Organization regions. The team analyzed data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey, focusing on bullying victimization within the past 30 days and 12-month suicide attempts in 134,229 adolescents between age 12 and 15 years. The links between bullying victimization and suicide attempts were assessed using meta-analysis and multivariable logistic regression.

Related Articles

After analysis, the researchers found that bullying victimization was significantly associated with an increased likelihood of suicide attempt in almost all countries studied (pooled odds ratio, 3.06; 95% CI, 2.73-3.43). In addition, they reported that the prevalence of bullying victimization and suicide attempt in the adolescents was 30.4% and 10.7%, respectively.

One key study limitation was the use of self-reported data and an inability to assess the potential mediating effect of depression, hopelessness, or low self-esteem.

“There is an urgent need to implement effective and evidence-based interventions to address bullying in order to prevent suicides and suicide attempts among adolescents worldwide,” the researchers wrote.


Koyanagi A, Oh H, Carvalho AF, et al. Bullying victimization and suicide attempt among adolescents aged 12-15 years from 48 countries [published online March 26, 2019]. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2018.10.018