231985 Association between bully victimization and suicide behaviors among youth in Massachusetts

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shane Fernando, MS , Department of Epidemiology, UNT Heath Science Center, Fort Worth, TX
Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler, PhD, MPH , Dept. of Epidemiology, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX
Background: Bullying and dating violence are on the rise and are found to be linked to depression and self-harm. Research is sparse recognizing the association between bully victimization and suicidal behaviors.

Methods: The Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which surveyed 1,598 students between the ages of 12 and 18, was used. Bullying was assessed over the past year, and risk behaviors were assessed over the past 30 days. Using four suicidal behaviors questions, we classified students into three levels: No Risk (did not think or attempt suicide), Low Risk (Thought about committing suicide, planned suicide), and High Risk (attempted suicide, and attempted suicide with injury). Data were weighted and multilogistic regression models were run.

Results: Bully victims are twice as likely to be in either Low or High risk groups compared to those who were not victims (Low Risk OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.7-2.6, High Risk OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.3-2.7). Those who had been physically hurt by a date had a higher chance of being in the Low or High risk group than those who were not (Low Risk OR 1.44, 95% CI 0.9-2.4, High Risk OR 2.63, 95% CI 1.7-4.1), with similar results for those who had a sexual experience against their will (Low Risk OR 1.42, 95% CI 1-2.1, High Risk OR 2.04, 95% CI 1.2-3.5).

Conclusions: The findings confirm that bully victimization is a significant predictor of suicidal behaviors. School-based interventions for bullying and dating violence can be adjusted for suicide potential, reducing overall suicide events.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify associations between bully victims and non-victims in terms of suicide risk behaviors. Describe possible differences between racial groups in Massachusetts for those who are bullied and not.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Delta Omega student nominee
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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