Involvement in bullying and suicidal ideation in middle adolescence: a 2-year follow-up study.
Heikkila, H.~~Vaananen, J.~~et al.
The objective of the study was to ascertain whether involvement in bullying increases the risk for subsequent suicidal ideation. A total of 2,070 Finnish girls and boys aged 15 were surveyed in the ninth grade (age 15) in schools, and followed up 2 years later in the Adolescent Mental Health Cohort Study. Involvement in bullying was elicited at age 15 by two questions focusing on being a bully and being a victim of bullying. Suicidal ideation was elicited by one item of the short Beck Depression Inventory at age 17. Baseline depressive symptoms and externalizing symptoms, age and sex were controlled for. Statistical analyses were carried out using cross-tabulations with Chi-square/Fisher’s exact test and logistic regression. Suicidal ideation at age 17 was 3-4 times more prevalent among those who had been involved in bullying at age 15 than among those not involved. Suicidal ideation at age 17 was most prevalent among former victims of bullying. Being a victim of bullying at age 15 continued to predict subsequent suicidal ideation when depressive and externalizing symptoms were controlled for. Being a bully at age 15 also persisted as borderline significantly predictive of suicidal ideation when baseline symptoms were controlled for. Findings indicate adolescent victims and perpetrators of bullying alike are at long-term risk for suicidal ideation.