Previous studies have increasingly shown the adverse effects of being bullied on suicidal behavior among young people, but the mechanisms underlying this association remain unclear. We examined the association between bullying and suicidal behavior among in-school adolescents. We further tested whether loneliness mediated the link between bullying and suicidal behavior and explored the moderated role of parental involvement in this association.
We used cross-sectional school-based data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey among 28 countries and territories. Adjusted, modified Poisson regressions with robust variance relative risks and moderation analyses were used to examine associations among bullying, suicidal behavior, and parental involvement. The mediating effect of loneliness on the bullying-suicidal behavior link was assessed using the generalized decomposition method.
A total of 78,558 school-going adolescents participated in this study. Bullying was associated with a 44% increased risk of suicidal behavior after adjusting for potential confounders (relative risk = 1.44; 95% confidence interval = 1.39–1.48). Loneliness partially mediated the association between bullying and suicidal behavior, and parental involvement moderated the association.
The findings suggest the need to recognize the dual burden of bullying and loneliness when addressing suicidal behavior and the importance of parental support in adolescents' mental health and well-being.
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Published online: March 14, 2023
Accepted: January 26, 2023
Received: March 22, 2022
Publication stageIn Press Corrected Proof
Conflicts of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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