May 21, 2013
1 min read

Cyberbullying triples risk for teenage suicide

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SAN FRANCISCO — Teenagers who experience cyberbullying are three times more likely to attempt suicide than those who are not bullied online, according to data presented here.

During a poster session, Kristi Kindrick, MD, of the department of psychiatry at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, presented data from her analysis from the CDC 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. According to Kindrick, suicide is now the third leading cause of death in teenagers in the United States, behind accidents and homicides.

Kindrick found that 6% of US high school students have missed school at some time due to fears for their safety after having been bullied online. Data also indicated that although parity in the rates of “offline” bullying exists between adolescent girls (22%) and adolescent boys (18%), cyberbullying among girls (22%) is double that for boys (11%).

Although results from Kindrick’s study determined that children and adolescents live a more “carefree life” than in the past, according to a news release from the APA, “suicide, thoughts, plans, and attempts among teens are now almost the same as those in adults.”

“Ultimately, as I progressed through this research, I realized why I cared so much about it; it’s because I’m a mom. I’ve got three young children. … This is a topic that I thought was important not only as a clinician, but as a parent,” Kindrick said.

For more information:

Kindrick K. Poster NR718. Presented at: American Psychiatric Association 166th Annual Meeting; May 18-22, 2013; San Francisco.

Disclosure: Kindrick reports no relevant financial disclosures.