In the wake of several highly publicized adolescent suicides attributed to bullying victimization, national attention has been brought to bear on the profound public health problem of bullying. This article reviews the extant literature on the associations between bullying perpetration, victimization, and thoughts of or attempts at suicide and proposes five potential mediators, namely depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, loneliness, and hopelessness, that may explain this relationship. Numerous studies have found empirical support for the interrelations between internalizing behaviors and both bullying perpetration and victimization and suicide. We find that further longitudinal research needs to be conducted to more conclusively determine the role and causal ordering these various psychosocial factors may play in bullying perpetration, victimization, and suicide. Although the research literature implies causal directions among all these potential mediators, untangling the unique influence of bullying perpetration, victimization, and bully victimization on suicide and its mechanisms of action has major research and practice implications.
- mental health
- youth violence