Exploring the Association Between Bullying Victimization and Suicidal Thoughts Through Theoretical Frameworks of Suicide

John F. Gunn, Sara E. Goldstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The role of bullying victimization in suicide has been discussed at length in the literature. Additionally, it is an association that has gained widespread attention in media, with shows like 13 Reasons Why receiving a great deal of attention. However, just how bullying victimization can contribute to suicidal thoughts is less understood. The present study explores two theoretical frameworks for suicide within the context of bullying victimization: the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide (IPTS) and the social pain model (SPM). In a sample of college students (N = 252), we explored three models: (1) a model drawn from the SPM, (2) a model drawn from the IPTS, and (3) a combined model informed from model 1 and 2. The combined model showed greater support for the IPTS in understanding the bullying-suicide link—though this support was partly attenuated by the introduction of depressive and anxiety symptoms as a control. The findings highlight the role of perceived burdensomeness, hopelessness, and depressive and anxiety symptoms in the experience of suicidal thoughts. Further work is needed to expand upon the role of bullying in theoretical frameworks for suicide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-226
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Bullying Prevention
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Peer victimization
  • Perceived burdensomeness
  • Psychological pain
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Thwarted belonging

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