BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Over the last decade there has been increased attention to the association between bullying involvement (as a victim, perpetrator, or bully-victim) and suicidal ideation/behaviors. We conducted a meta-analysis to estimate the association between bullying involvement and suicidal ideation and behaviors.
METHODS: We searched multiple online databases and reviewed reference sections of articles derived from searches to identify cross-sectional studies published through July 2013. Using search terms associated with bullying, suicide, and youth, 47 studies (38.3% from the United States, 61.7% in non-US samples) met inclusion criteria. Seven observers independently coded studies and met in pairs to reach consensus.
RESULTS: Six different meta-analyses were conducted by using 3 predictors (bullying victimization, bullying perpetration, and bully/victim status) and 2 outcomes (suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviors). A total of 280 effect sizes were extracted and multilevel, random effects meta-analyses were performed. Results indicated that each of the predictors were associated with risk for suicidal ideation and behavior (range, 2.12 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.67–2.69] to 4.02 [95% CI, 2.39–6.76]). Significant heterogeneity remained across each analysis. The bullying perpetration and suicidal behavior effect sizes were moderated by the study’s country of origin; the bully/victim status and suicidal ideation results were moderated by bullying assessment method.
CONCLUSIONS: Findings demonstrated that involvement in bullying in any capacity is associated with suicidal ideation and behavior. Future research should address mental health implications of bullying involvement to prevent suicidal ideation/behavior.
- Accepted October 29, 2014.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics