February 23, 2016
1 min read

Bullying increases risk for suicide ideation, attempt in youth

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Peer victimization increased risk for suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among youth, regardless of concurrent suicidality and prior mental health problems.

To assess the effect of victimization on risk for suicidal ideation and suicide attempt, Marie-Claude Geoffroy, PhD, of McGill University, Montreal, and colleagues evaluated a general population sample of children born in Quebec in 1997 through 1998 and followed them until age 15 years. Participants self-reported victimization, serious suicidal ideation and suicide attempt in the past year at ages 13 and 15 years (n = 1,168).

Victimized children reported concurrently higher rates of suicidal ideation at age 13 years (11.6% to 14.7%) and suicide attempt at age 15 years (5.4% to 6.8%), compared with children who were not victimized.

Being victimized by peers at age 13 years predicted suicidal ideation (OR = 2.27; 95% CI, 1.25-4.12) and suicide attempt (OR = 3.05; 95% CI, 1.36-6.82) at age 15 years, even after adjusting for baseline suicidality and mental health problems, socioeconomic status, intelligence, family functioning and structure, hostile-reactive parenting, and maternal lifetime suicidal ideation/suicide attempt.

Children victimized at age 13 years and 15 years had the highest risk for suicidal ideation (OR = 5.41; 95% CI, 2.53-11.53) and suicide attempt (OR = 5.85; 95% CI, 2.12-16.18) at age 15 years.

“Although peer victimization predicts suicidal ideation and suicide attempts, it does not necessarily cause it and this prediction does not apply to all individuals,” Geoffroy said in a press release. “Only a minority of victims will later develop suicidal ideation or make suicide attempt. We do not currently know the reasons why such adverse experience affects individuals and who are the persons more vulnerable to the effects of victimization.”  – by Amanda Oldt

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.