The association of suicide and bullying in childhood to young adulthood: a review of cross-sectional and longitudinal research findings

Can J Psychiatry. 2010 May;55(5):282-8. doi: 10.1177/070674371005500503.


Objective: To review the research addressing the association of suicide and bullying, from childhood to young adulthood, including cross-sectional and longitudinal research findings.

Method: Relevant publications were identified via electronic searches of PsycNet and MEDLINE without date specification, in addition to perusing the reference lists of relevant articles.

Results: Cross-sectional findings indicate that there is an increased risk of suicidal ideation and (or) suicide attempts associated with bullying behaviour and cyberbullying. The few longitudinal findings available indicate that bullying and peer victimization lead to suicidality but that this association varies by sex. Discrepancies between the studies available may be due to differences in the studies' participants and methods.

Conclusions: Bullying and peer victimization constitute more than correlates of suicidality. Future research with long-term follow-up should continue to identify specific causal paths between bullying and suicide.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Crime Victims / psychology
  • Crime Victims / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Peer Group
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Behavior*
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Young Adult