754.1 The risk of inaction: Correlating bullying with youth suicide across nations

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 2:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Bradley POWELL , Sociology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Daily hassles are understood as an unavoidable condition of the modern human experience.  Whether we deal with a morning traffic jam, a surprise pop quiz, or a long line at the post office, we share certain irritants that interrupt our daily routines.  Most of these trifles are no match for our coping resources; instead of "stressing us out" for an extended period, they ebb and flow as part of the rhythm of daily life.  However, there is a point when particular stressors become too much to manage; for many children, bullying can be one such stressor.  Bullying is known to have particularly nefarious effects ranging from increased absence from school and dropout rates, all the way to elevated levels of suicidal ideation, attempts, and completion (Almeida, et al., 2009).  Despite our knowledge of how bullying puts children at risk for negative outcomes, there are relatively few international studies, and even fewer that frame bullying as a risk to the life course.  This study examined teen suicide rates across 24 countries including Europe and North America and found significant correlations with reported bullying victimization for both males and females, demonstrating that bullying puts children at significant risk, not only for poor academic performance respective of their peers, but also at increased risk of early mortality due to suicide.  The paper concludes with a discussion of factors thought to promote hostile school climate as well as recommendations for future research.