While it makes for convenient mainstream media news pieces to draw convenient lines between cyber-bullying and suicide and thus declare that ending bullying would end suicides, it's not so simplistic, notes research from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans. Most teen suicide victims are bullied both online and in school, and many suicide victims also suffer from depression.
For "Cyberbullying and Suicide: A Retrospective Analysis of 41 Cases," the researchers examined Internet reports of youth suicides where cyberbullying was implicated as a factor. Information about demographics and the event itself were then collected through searches of online news media and social networks. Finally, descriptive statistics were used to assess the rate of pre-existing mental illness, the co-occurrence of other forms of bullying, and the characteristics of the electronic media associated with each suicide case.
The study identified 41 suicide cases (24 female, 17 male, ages 13 to 18) from the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. 24 percent of teens were the victims of homophobic bullying, and half of those identified as homosexual and the other half identified as heterosexual or of unknown sexual preference.
Suicides most frequently occurred in September (15 percent) and January (12 percent) although in such a small sample these higher rates may have occurred by chance. The incidence of reported suicide cases increased over time, with 56 percent occurring from 2003 to 2010, compared to 44 percent from January 2011 through April 2012.
78 percent of adolescents who committed suicide were bullied both at school and online, only 17 percent were targeted online only. A mood disorder was reported in 32 percent of the teens, and depression symptoms in an additional 15 percent.
"Cyberbullying is a factor in some suicides, but almost always there are other factors such as mental illness or face-to-face bullying," said study author John C. LeBlanc, MD, MSc, FRCPC, FAAP. "Cyberbullying usually occurs in the context of regular bullying."
Cyberbullying occurred through various media and text or video messaging was noted in 14 cases.
"Certain social media, by virtue of allowing anonymity, may encourage cyberbullying," said Dr. LeBlanc. "It is difficult to prove a cause and effect relationship, but I believe there is little justification for anonymity."
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- If Happy Meal Law Passes, NYC Kids Will Frown
- Highlights From ICNFP 2015
- Is Smokeless Tobacco More Harmful Than Believed?
- Supertranslations And Eternal Ghosts: Black Holes No Closer To Being Understood
- Blade Runner: The Science In The Fiction
- Innate GMO Potato Deregulated By USDA
- Artificial Intelligence: It's Time To Talk About What Emotions We Want AI To Have
- "The wavelength of the exiting radiation from the iguana asymptotically becomes zero, so I can't..."
- "The other thing that is weirdly suspicious is the picture mocking Hilarry Putnam. Now, the brains..."
- "My question is, exactly what was in this paper? He complains about the paper being rejected and..."
- "I wouldn't take it too hard buddy. Suppose they did publish it- then what, 20 more people might..."
- "I had some problems with Dr. Vongehr's short essay. One of them is the broken English. Now I am..."
- “Shock Therapy” – Not a Cuckoo’s Nest, a Valid Depression Rx
- Innate: Simplot genetically engineered potato gets USDA nod for deregulation
- Sorry, AIDS Deniers, It’s Only a Headline
- Mission Not Yet Accomplished on Vaccines
- Cigarettes, Now With An Organic Health Halo
- Bee Wary of Tales of the ‘Beepocalypse’
- Study reveals human body has gone through four stages of evolution
- Estimate claims plastic in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050 - but accuracy of the baseline is unknown
- Pollution and weather influence heart attack outcomes?
- Fish oil diet versus gut microbes
- Naps linked to reduced blood pressure and fewer medications
Books By Writers Here