Bullying, a risk factor for suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts

March 10, 2014 at 9:52 PM
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LEIDEN LEIDEN, Netherlands, March 10 (UPI) -- Bullying is a risk factor for suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts by children and adolescents, researchers in the Netherlands say.

Mitch van Geel of Leiden University in the Netherlands and colleagues said cyberbullying appeared more strongly related to suicidal thoughts than traditional bullying, but the authors warned there was a limited amount of data concerning cyberbullying.

Suicide is one of the most frequent causes of adolescent death worldwide, and 5 percent to 8 percent of U.S. adolescents attempt suicide within a year, van Geel said. Prior research suggested bullying, or peer victimization, was an important risk factor for adolescent suicide.

The study authors conduced a meta-analysis and identified 34 studies involving 284,375 people that focused on the relationship between bullying and suicidal thoughts and nine studies involving 70,102 people that focused on the relationship between bully victimization and suicide attempts.

The study, published in the JAMA Pediatrics, found bullying was related to both suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among children and adolescents.

"This meta-analysis establishes that peer victimization is a risk factor of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts," the study authors said. "Efforts should continue to identify and help victims of bullying, as well as to create bullying prevention and intervention programs that work."

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